Celestica Gets Personal Print E-mail
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Written by Mike Buetow   
Friday, 31 October 2008 19:00
Talking Heads ImageWhen one thinks of Celestica, hands-on prototyping and lab research with one-man startups doesn’t leap to mind. But according to Dave Ellison, business development manager of the EMS company’s new Performance Innovation group, that’s precisely the type of service the $8 billion firm now provides. During SMTA International in August, he and director, technology department Peter Tomaiuolo laid out to editor-in-chief Mike Buetow how a company with 30 sites around the globe is individualizing its services.

CA: Is manufacturing managed globally or locally?

PT: Manufacturing sites are managed at a regional level. Some are more focused on one sector than others. A senior manager is in charge of a market segment, with customer-focused staff under them.

CA: How is loading handled?

DE: A given customer will be slotted into a site based on product type and where that customer needs to be to meet its cost objectives for each market. We’re not seeing any programs moved because of the logistics costs on the board side. Where is the build-to-order done? That’s the bigger thing due to the size and weight of the final product and the order to ship requirements to the end-customer.

CA: Are capital equipment decisions driven by customers, or internally?

PT: We start with a roadmap, then fill the gaps. We have one for North America, Asia (Thailand and China), and Europe. We get input from customer and corporate teams. There is a vertical and horizontal component to roadmap and customer teams. We have a centralized equipment buying list. If vendor is customer-specified, Celestica will skip AVL and characterization.

CA: What measures is Celestica taking to ensure its customers’ IP protection?

DE: We sell the assembly process development piece as a service, and customers pay to be able to take it to another EMS provider so they don’t have to pay twice to have it developed. Also, we ask, What is IP to you, the customer? Usually it’s design or component related. Test engineers would be kept to a certain customer set because of the deep functional knowledge they gain on the customer’s product. From an assembly process standpoint, an engineer would typically shift from customer to customer with no issue.

PT: One exception is emerging technologies, optics for instance, where customers don’t want their technology used on competitive programs. We put locked walls around those programs.

CA: Are your program managers tied to a market, a customer, or a combination?

DE: Some PMs are hired out to a particular customer or service. Technical PMs are completely dynamic. They are not tied to a site, customer or segment. Global PMs are tied to customer accounts and they stick to the same customers. Some program managers are dedicated program transfer PMs. Site program managers are dedicated to specific customer(s).

CA: Celestica has turned the corner under CEO Craig Muhlhauser, and now appears to believe size doesn’t matter most.

PT: What Muhlhauser has indicated is that we will grow incremental revenue profitably. We’re not going to be the biggest EMS company, but we’re striving to be the best. One emerging area for Celestica is aerospace, defense and industrial. We have established centers of excellence in each region to meet the unique requirements of customers in these sectors – services and capabilities that focus on high-mix, low-volume products. [Ed: Aerospace, defense and industrial now account for 8% of total revenue.] It’s driven by COTS. Celestica is also involved in NASA-JGPP program from a technology standpoint.

CA: Lots of EMS companies have the same selling points. Given that, how is your marketing approach attempting to differentiate Celestica?

DE: We ask ourselves, What do we have to offer that could benefit existing customers or customers that we don’t have yet? How do we capitalize on former Celestica employees now working elsewhere who know and appreciate our unique capabilities? How can we help companies overcome challenges and identify opportunities to accelerate their success? That’s what the Performance Innovation, or PI, team was created to do: promote Celestica’s efforts to smaller OEMs. We have about 100 customers total. Many based in the Toronto area and that do not use EMS services, but do use Celestica’s PI lab, failure analysis and test development services.

PT: We’re trying to show we offer end-to-end solutions.

 

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