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Case Study: DJO Global, Tijuana's Binational Success Story

With more than 17 years of operating in Tijuana, DJO's has received U.S. and International awards for its quality and operational excellence, including AME's Manufacturing Excellence award, IndustryWeek "Best Plants," and the Shingo prize for operational excellence.

Area Development Online Research Desk (Winter 2012)
Tijuana's Binational Success Story -DJO Global
Tijuana is located in the northwest corner of Mexico. The city is connected to the Pacific Basin and just across the U.S. border from San Diego, California. Tijuana is one of Mexico's top industrial cities with burgeoning manufacturing activity; it's home to 570 industrial companies with a work force of nearly 150,000.

Solar Turbine Wins Mexican National Quality Award

Solar Turbine Inc. is a subsidiary of Caterpillar headquartered in San Diego, California, with offices in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. The principal markets of this corporation are the oil and gas industry and industrial power generation; some of its main customers are Sempra Energy and Pemex.

This company started its Tijuana operations in 1985 under the name Turbotec. Today it has 979 employees, 876 of whom work in the manufacturing assembly of industrial turbines. Also, Tijuana's manufacturing facility is well known for being in charge of the region's equipment maintenance.

Turbotec remanufactures over 600,000 core and customer-owned parts annually. The company's employees efficiently disassemble the components and assemblies from Texas's plant and return them to "like new condition." In 2011 Turbotec was awarded Mexico's top quality award, as the "Best Large Manufacturing Plant" in all Mexico.

Tijuana EDC

Amistad Industrial Developers

Tijuana is located in the northwest corner of Mexico, just minutes away from California and the Pacific Basin, providing just-in-time access to one of the world's largest and wealthiest market. It offers a competitively skilled work force and is one of Mexico's top industrial cities with burgeoning manufacturing activity centered on medical devices, aerospace, and electronics. World-class manufacturing companies with a Tijuana presence include Solar Turbines, Bourns, Plantronics, Panasonic, Toyota, Samsung, and many more.

Currently, Tijuana is on a path to be the innovation-driven production capital of Latin America, with significant supply-chain opportunities. The city offers modern industrial parks and is one of Mexico's most mature industrial real estate markets.

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Since the 1960s, Tijuana has become a strategic destination for consumer electronics production. During the 1980s it was called the TV manufacturing capital, and since then, it has established a reputation as a preferred destination for manufacturing. Today, the city has 50 years of experience in manufacturing, offering a unique combination of speed to market, competitive operational costs, and high-tech capabilities. Tijuana has developed expertise in key sectors like medical devices and aerospace as well as a broad supplier base.

A Regional Operations Strategy
The 40 medical device companies operating in Tijuana have gained a significant competitive edge, exemplified by the continuous expansion of DJO Global.

DJO is a worldwide leader in rehabilitation products, with headquarters in Vista, California, and nearly 4,700 employees in 25 countries. The company started its Tijuana's operation in 1994 with three stock keeping units (SKUs) and 20 people. Today based in a philosophy called "The DJO Way," it has reached 11,000 SKUs and over 2,000 employees .

The DJO Way
With more than 17 years of operating in Tijuana, DJO's has received U.S. and International awards for its quality and operational excellence, including AME's Manufacturing Excellence award, IndustryWeek "Best Plants," and the Shingo prize for operational excellence. And, during the last two years, DJO has ranked in the top three places of Mexico's "Best Places to Work."

DJO strives to motivate all levels to exceed quality requirements through operating principles, industry's best practices, and proven tools used to transform and continually improve its business. With six manufacturing locations around the globe, Tijuana's facility achieves the highest productivity rates with the lowest part per million defects rate. Based on local employee experiences and management leadership, the company has been able to integrate programs such as Kaizen, Value Stream Mapping, 5S, Six Sigma, Kanban, Cellular Manufacturing, First Pass Yield and Mistake Proofing.

Re-shoring Pioneers
In 2010, DJO Global reached an average growth of 4.2% in the international market and faced the challenge of lowering its total cost to the market, evaluating two business strategies of near-shore-onshore vs. offshore manufacturing.

The re-shoring of production from Asia to South Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, and Mexico allowed the company savings and better operational control achieving reduction in lead times (days vs. weeks), reducing transportation and logistics costs, lowering inventory carrying costs, strengthening IP protection, and accelerating new product development .DJO mapped out the options in a value stream map and total cost to the market model. The combination of cost reduction and manufacturing excellence was reflected in a lead-time reduction of 80% and inventory reduction from 84 to 14 days.


In an effort to address the opportunity in Tijuana for those companies in the medical device sector, the Tijuana EDC has put together a series of e-seminars, industrial tours, and B2B meetings that will be held in San Diego California in September within the UBM "MeDevice" show. For more information or event registration go to our website - www.tijuanaedc.org - or contact us at contact@tijuanaedc.org.
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