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Cementos Mexicano: A Role Model

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Cementos Mexicano’s beginnings can be traced back nearly a century, with the opening of the Cementos Hidalgo plant in northern Mexico in 1906. By 1920, Cementos Portland Monterrey had begun operations with 20 000 tons of annual production capacity. In 1931 these two companies merged to become Cementos Mexicano, which now goes by the name Cemex. By the mid 1960’s, Cemex had become a regional player by acquiring Cementos Maya’s Merida plant and building two new plants in different Mexican cities. By 1973, Cemex had established a national presence by installing new kilns or furnaces in their Merida and Monterrey plants.For the first time in 1976, Cemex goes public and is listed on the National Stock Exchange. That same year, they acquire three plants in Guadalajara to become the country’s leader in the market. By 1982, Cemex had already begun focusing on markets outside of their borders by doubling the volumes of their exports. In 1987, Cemex had acquired another large competitor which gave them increasingly more access to the lucrative Mexican central market. That same year they establish CEMEXnet, a satellite communications system that connected all of their production facilities. This was the company’s first real use of technology to improve their market position, but it definitely would not be the last. From 1989 to 1992, Cemex had become one of the ten largest cement producers in the world, and by acquiring Spain’s two largest cement companies, they had shown their strengths on an international level. By 1994, Cemex had established their own in-house information technology supplier, had entered into new markets by acquiring plants in the Caribbean, Central America, as well as in Texas. These acquisitions positioned Cemex perfectly for exports in other key markets.

In 1995, Cemex developed a digital, Dynamic Synchronization of Operations which made use of GPS technology and onboard computers on all trucks to increase speed of delivery, efficiency and reduce waste. In acquiring 30% interest in a Philipino cement company in 1997, Cemex establishes itself in that market while making itself the third largest cement company in the world. By 1999, Cemex had strengthened its hold on the South Pacific market by acquiring interest in an Indonesian cement giant and gaining increased interest in its Philipino endeavours. By 2000, Cemex had become North America’s largest cement producer in acquiring U.S. based Southdown Inc., while also having entered the markets in South East Asia by way of partnerships in Taiwan and the opening of a plant in Bangladesh. Presently, in the year 2005, Cemex has established and reinforced its presence in all major markets in the areas of cement and aggregates, is traded on the NYSE, and by acquiring UK based RMC group, has enhanced its position as one of the world’s largest building materials company while being the leader in the area of ready mix concrete.

Coorporate Structure

Empowering Works!

Cemex operates in 50 countries world-wide, and would not have been successful in so many markets if they didn’t have a culture that encouraged change, all the while abiding by the idea that employees’ heritage must be maintained, while offering virtually unlimited challenges and room for growth within the organization. Doing things differently has always been paramount to Cemex’s success as a visionary Global giant in the cement industry. How did they do this? They did this by encouraging workers to be entrepreneurial and very adaptive in dealing with change, while reinforcing the need for workers to always be ready to adopt new ideas and practices on top of developing their particular skills and abilities. Workers are encouraged in the culture to cross borders, be it geographical, functional, or departmental in order to become more efficient while still being innovative.

Workers at Cemex must be prepared to interact with colleagues, customers, and others from different countries around the globe requiring skills in languages, technology, and cross-cultural interactions. In a global company such as Cemex, the idea of a borderless organization takes on new meaning and as such, often means putting into place initiatives and programs to aid workers in developing the skills necessary to thrive in the multicultural business world. Some of the programs that Cemex has instituted are educational programs emphasizing the need for effective communication and unity among all of cemex’s worldwide offices. They are also particularly proud of their international exchange program that requires executives of different nationalities to be assigned key positions in foreign countries. They also have programs that allow executives to participate in the process of integration that take place after merger and acquisitions of foreign companies.

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