Cultural differences important in Mexico

Lack of understanding how business is conducted in Mexico is probably the main reason why so many companies fail there, says one major packaging buyer.

Alex Felix, the technical manager of EFFEM Mexico, Inc., a division of M&M/Mars Co., was a participant at the Fall Meeting of the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute, held in September in Atlanta. Together with Eric Ponce de Leon of Revlon de Mexico, Felix led a candid discussion of the differences in business relationships in Mexico. While he stressed the importance of local representation or, at the least, Spanish speaking representatives, Felix said that it was important to understand that business is often conducted differently there, compared to the U.S. He noted the importance in the U.S. of doing business during an afternoon of golf, and compared it to the Mexican equivalent of a leisurely three-hour lunch replete with heavy food and drinks. That's why he cautioned U.S. businessmen not to expect punctuality by Mexican contacts in the afternoons. At the same meeting, PMMI reported a record number of new member companies (31), partly due to the addition of 17 companies from Canada, the first time Canadian packaging equipment companies had been allowed to join. For more details, contact PMMI at 703/243-8555.

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