The Perils of International Business

Operating Horst Engineering de Mexico has been a tremendous experience, but it has also highlighted the challenges of international business. So many factors are out of your control. Similar challenges exist on the home front, but distance tends to highlight the issues. When drug related violence flared up on the Sonoran border last fall, we felt helpless when innocent people were impacted. When the swine flu outbreak caused our factory to be closed for a week even though there were no local cases, we couldn’t do a thing to change the situation. When Hurricane Jimena stalled over the Sea of Cortez last week, and dumped 24 inches of rain in 24 hours on Guaymas, we were in shock. Amazingly, our plant was only closed for two days and was back up and running today. The photos tell a story of devastation. The State of Sonora has been through a lot in the past  year. In addition to those three large events, earlier this summer, there was a horrible fire at a Hermosillo day care center that killed more than 40 children.

Each of these challenges have had a direct impact on all of the businesses in Sonora. Factor in the huge impact of the recession, particularly the impact on the manufacturing sector, and you have to think that things will get better from here on out. Of course, many of us felt that way before last week’s hurricane flooded our workers’ homes, smashed boats into buildings, washed out roads, and knocked out power and water. These are the kinds of events that you are used to reading about in the newspaper, or nowadays, on the Internet. It feels different when your enterprise is forced to deal with these challenges. I’ve met many Sonorans in recent years and they have a fighting spirit. I would bet that they come out of 2009 with new resolve and a bright outlook on the future.

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