After 20 years developing testing hardware and software for the likes of Audi, Continental, Ford, and Volkswagen, Guadalajara-based Soluciones Tecnológicas is looking to double sales to $10 million in the next 18 months as it expands into the aerospace domain.
The 55-person company combines hardware and software into products including full scale crash and crash simulation facilities for occupant and pedestrian safety, high speed cameras for slow- motion playback, data acquisition and measurement systems as well as software for data and image analysis, test and production management and production management.
One example is its TCstation (Test Control Station) for airbag testing, which performs high speed imaging and information gathering to assure airbags work correctly during their split-second deployment. It also performs mechanical design services and will build prototypes, but relies on local partners for actual production.
“What makes us different,” says Eduardo Ramírez, the company’s business development director, “is that we have a product development mindset. Depending on the situation, we use not only software, but sometimes electronic design, mechanical design, or other disciplines, in order to put together a solution. In this sense, we are not really a pure software development company, but a product development company and a service provider.”
Soluciones Tecnológicas is unique, he said, because it performs both low-level engineering such as “design framework, development and electronic design” as well as higher-level work integration work such as applications engineering. “We’re not overly concerned by our rivals because there is space between these different domains,” he said. “We may even complement each other’s skills and capacities.”
While it has since moved into other domains, Soluciones Tecnológicas started out producing embedded software, primarily for the automotive industry. Ramírez is proud that the company’s founders all hail from Guadalajara. “We’re a truly ‘Tapatío’ company, native to Guadalajara,” he said, using the traditional name for a native of Guadalajara. “We really appreciate the high quality of life here, plus of course the availability of talent.”
While he declined to say if the company was profitable, he did proudly point out that earlier this year it was awarded the European Union’s Seal of e-Excellence. “This was the first year that small and medium enterprises from Latin America were invited, he said, and were judged more for their marketing and business models than for technical innovation.
Key to future growth, he says, is to “to take what we have done for two decades in auto industries and transfer it to aerospace, focusing on France, Germany and Spain. While the industry is quite different, much of their work (such as producing test management software) can be easily adapted to that industry.
“With our strong talent pool, coming from a dollar-based economy where costs are lower than in Europe, we are certain that we can be very competitive,” says Ramírez. “There will be a lot of activity, especially in 2012, not only in Europe but also in the United States, Canada and Brazil. This is an opportunity to extend our development horizons and prove that the talent really is here in Mexico.”