Cristina Casimiro is Operations Director, Fricción y Tecnologia (Fritec). Fritec is a brake manufacturing company with over 30 years of experience in the automotive market. In the following Q&A, Cristina shares with us her valuable insights on the topics of leadership and success.
TBR: What is your current role and area of responsibility?
CC: I am the Operations Director for Fricción y Tecnologia, better known as Fritec. I am responsible for the operation which includes financial results, R&D, Engineering, Quality Assurance, and Production (we are one of the few organizations that go all the way from mixing and stamping to finish product). We manufacture passenger and commercial disc brake pads and lined drum brake shoes for Mexico and 30+ other countries.
TBR: How would you describe your leadership style and why has it worked so well for you?
CC: I keep people involved. I consider clear communication a must to have a high impact team that cares about financial results, good products, and working environment.
TBR: What do you see as your biggest challenge right now?
CC: To keep innovating. Fritec wants to keep expanding its sales, to do so we better rely on innovation to be more competitive; most organizations consider cost reduction as the solution however this is only part of it. Organizations must innovate continuously to be sustainable, to stay in the long term.
TBR: What do you look for when evaluating top talent?
CC: I look for people able to work as a team member and who intends to lead people. We have such a big responsibilities that a team member mindset is crucial to achieve greater goals. We can accomplish big by having millennials and other generations working together in well integrated teams.
TBR: What was your first job in Industry?
CC: Initially I was part of the Information Technology industry, such background has allowed me to champion technology usage internally and externally, for example, to stay connected with the market and our business associates.
TBR: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at age 20?
CC: Start working in your field while you are still at the school and to look for a mentor, a professional willing to teach you, to let you grow and let you have the spotlight. I was fortunate enough to have had one. Many young professionals get frustrated because they do not find venues to grow.
TBR: Name your favorite / recent book(s) you have read:
CC: I just read the new book of the Millennium series. Author captured well the spirit of previous books. I also read a book that an auditor suggested to me, Chris Lowney’s Heroic leadership, best practices from a 450 years old company that changed the world. Useful, not recently published but current.
TBR: What is your favorite quote and why?
CC: While you are in a crisis look for opportunities. Economy has been challenging in recent years, instead of waiting until the bad days are over, invest and be prepared to grow. Most likely you and your business will grow during that down time and after, instead of others who prefer to save their money and effort.
TBR: What has been the biggest contributor to your success at this point?
CC: To adapt to ever changing times.
TBR: Tell us a something that most people might not know about you or your organization.
CC: FRITEC adds to its catalogue 80 part numbers per year, which represents a number close to 2 per week. This is possible thanks to its engineering groups and tooling shops. With such a wide catalog, Fritec is quite capable to meet the specific needs of all our customers.
FRITEC started manufacturing friction materials in 1977 with the main objective of designing, developing and manufacturing friction materials for the automotive industry and industrial applications mostly based on solving problems and satisfying the needs and demands of the brakes market. Over the years we have acquired extensive experience in designing and manufacturing the most complete range of products that have improved the braking conditions of vehicles and machines all over the world.
Our high quality, technical solutions, experience and professional attitude have contributed to our growth and market leadership; we are committed to manufacture advanced technology products with the highest quality standards, and given the best customer service, technical support and constant training to our customers.