Susan Mucha will be giving a presentation at this year’s PCB West as part of their newly introduced EMS Management Conference Track. There is still time to register.
Five-and-a-Half Technical Services Marketing Myths
Wednesday, Sept. 13, 1-2 p.m.
My article in the August issue of Circuits Assembly magazine looks at the question: Can market research help investment decisions?
Electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers vary widely in the effort put into strategic planning. Some have dedicated strategic planning functions that develop internal reports and presentations on changing market dynamics and purchase market research for specific industries as part of the company’s overall strategic planning efforts. Others buy packaged market research studies or outsource specific research needs prior to developing strategic plans. Some companies center on trends within their internal customer and prospect base, focusing planning on the likely needs of the market they know best. And a few just go with the flow, reacting to customer requests but otherwise not engaging in any form of strategic planning.
Based on my experience, the right answer is somewhere in the middle. I’ve worked in companies so fixated on studying the market they grew more slowly than they would have had those resources been allocated to sales and marketing activities. In some cases, “studying things” actually became a way to avoid making hard decisions. I’ve also seen companies that failed to do any strategic planning surprised by market or technology shifts.
One thing to remember:
If you are not positioning your company, the market trends or your closest competitor will be.
You can read the full article here.
We’ll also be exploring strategic planning and EMS trends in much greater detail in PMCI’s half day workshop at SMTAI:
Identifying EMS Market Trends: Learn to Predict the Future and Help Your Company Lead the Pack
SMTA International, Rosemont, IL
Sunday, September 25 | 1:30pm — 5:00pm
Topics Covered Include:
- Typical cycles which repeat in the EMS industry
- Key events likely to trigger changes in demand
- Useful strategic planning tools
- Creating business models which can readily adapt to changing markets.
The early bird deadline for registration is Aug. 26. Register here.
If you are planning on attending SMTA International in Rosemont, Illinois mark your calendars for this Tuesday conference event that Mike Buetow from Circuits Assembly and I will be co-chairing:
Taking the Cost Out of EMS: Getting the Best Return for Lean Initiatives
Sept. 29, 2015
11 am – 12:30pm
In today’s world of variable demand and higher mix product, electronics manufacturing services (EMS) companies need to be flexible and agile to respond to changing customer needs. At the same time, EMS companies also need to address efficiency and cost reduction in an environment characterized by razor thin margins. Does a more holistic approach to implementing Lean manufacturing philosophy hold the answers to best addressing these challenges? Join us as a regional EMS provider and supplier of manufacturing shop floor control solutions discuss how a Lean, yet agile EMS operation can be created by rethinking how customers, the supply chain, support functions and manufacturing operations work together in an interconnected Lean environment. Following the presentations, there will be a panel discussion with the audience focused on ways this type of holistic approach can eliminate the common constraints to effective Lean implementation found in the EMS environment.
- Lean Flow on the SMT Factory Floor
- Michael Ford, Mentor Graphics, Valor Division
- Applying Lean Philosophies to Supply Chain Management in EMS
- Wally Johnson, Firstronic
- Panel Discussion
For more information and to register, visit http://www.smta.org/smtai.
I’ll be out at the 5-Star S.T.E.M. Competition at Ft. Bliss, Sat. March 21st with a table talking up manufacturing engineering career options. The event is focused on Middle and High School students. Officials from Ft. Bliss will be judging their science projects. I’ve had a lot of support from SMTA and IPC. A couple of clients are allowing me to use photos of their manufacturing operations in a slide presentation and a local client has loaned PCBAs. Marie Cole over at IBM was very helpful suggesting a list of resources that both younger students and college-bound kids should consider. The one tip she had that I thought was particularly brilliant was to suggest that as part of college tours, that kids stop by the Career Center and see what internship or co-op/work study programs were being offered by employers through that center and factor that into their college choice plans.
Why support an event like this? The big reason that if kids aren’t exposed to manufacturing as a career path, they probably aren’t going to think about it and there are engineering shortages. And, I want to give a little back to an industry that paid for my Master’s degree and has kept relatively nice roofs over my head for the last three decades. To me, manufacturing is an economic engine that provides jobs that help people grow skills. I don’t see the same breadth of opportunities for growth present in the service sector. I think Henry Ford had it right when he pointed out that he was paying good wages to his factory workers because he could afford to build more cars than the rich could buy and he wanted to help create a middle class that would consume his company’s products. I’ll blog more about the resource links I share at the event and the feedback I get from the kids. Bottom line, if there are S.T.E.M events in your area, consider sharing a presentation about careers in manufacturing. The best way to attract the next generation of engineers is to talk about manufacturing when they are still thinking about what they want to do in life.
I’ll be teaching part of the EMS Program Management Essentials course Feb. 23 and 25, and attending meetings in between, at IPC APEX Expo. Learn more about IPC’s EMS Program Management Certification Program here. It’s a great way to learn new things about the most difficult job in the EMS industry.
Back when I used to be a member of what was then called IPC’s Electronics Manufacturing Services Industry (EMSI) Council, we used to end each meeting with a round robin session called “one good idea.” Each member would share something his/her company was doing that had saved time or money or solved a common challenge. When I teach IPC’s EMS Program Management Certification course, I usually include that round robin discussion, as well.
Today, I’d like to try an online version of it. Normally I don’t promote my clients in my blog, but one of them had a good idea that is simply too good not to share. A number of folks over at Screaming Circuits are fans of Nikola Tesla, so much so that they commissioned a t-shirt to commemorate Tesla’s contributions to science and technology. The t-shirt also contributes to the preservation of his history by donating all profits to the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe directly. The t-shirt, designed by Portland, Oregon area artist Kyle Devore, offers supporters of Tesla a way to give back to the organization as well as receive a piece of memorabilia. View more about the t-shirt on the teespring.com website: http://teespring.com/HighVoltageMonth2014.
And, while fundraising for the Tesla Museum (or any museum likely to inspire future engineers and scientists) is a great idea; from my perspective, the really interesting idea was the business model used by Teespring, the crowdfunding site that has created the t-shirt. Its model lets organizations fund raise through t-shirt sales with virtually no financial risk, excess inventory risk or logistics headaches. And, that is a great idea worth sharing.
Got a great idea you’d like to share? Feel free to add it to the comments section.
Don’t miss the session that PMCI co-organizes with Circuits Assembly Magazine at this year’s SMTA International Show
Supply Chain Conflict Minerals Compliance
Chair: Susan Mucha, Powell-Mucha Consulting, Inc.
Co-Chair: Mike Buetow, UP Media Group
Wednesday, October 1, 4:00pm — 5:30pm Room 51
In the wake of the Dodd-Frank legislation mandating reporting of minerals mined in war-torn regions like the DRC, several initiatives and templates for defining and reporting use of these elements have been developed by worldwide organizations, including the Conflict-Free Tin Initiative, the EICC Conflict-Free Smelter Program, and the IPC Conflict Minerals Due Diligence Guide. This session looks at where these programs intersect, best practices for compliance, and some of the tools for compliance.
- Contract Manufacturing and Conflict Minerals: Creating a Workable Compliance System
John Sheehan and Allen Abell, SigmaTron International
- Lessons Learned from AIM’s Participation in the CFTI
David Suraski, AIM
Aidan Turnbull, Ph.D., ENVIRON International
Chris Nowak, Actio
Conference details are available at: http://www.smta.org/smtai/at_a_glance.cfm.
IPC has announced dates for the Essential of EMS Program Management course in 2014. I teach the first day of this course. The course is tentatively scheduled for March 27-29, 2014 at IPC Apex Expo and then again Sept. 17-19 in Bannockburn, IL.
This two-day session along with online learning, a Leadership course and an exam are part of IPC’s EMS Program Management Certification program. Last year, IPC also began scheduling on-site courses for companies who preferred to hold it on a specific date in their facility.
For more information, visit IPC’s EMS Program Management Certification program overview page.
It appears my publisher is joining the rest of the retail industry in starting sales early. Only theirs is also finishing early. If you’ve wanted a copy of “Find It. Book It. Grow It. A Robust Strategy for Account Acquisition in Electronics Manufacturing Services,” but felt the price was too high, now is your chance. Pennwell Books is running its end of the year sale between now and the end of November and the book is now $25. Here is the ordering link:
Have a great Thanksgiving!