In the OEM-EMS relationship, getting to win-win requires a clearly stated business case.
One of the recurring themes I hear in electronics manufacturing services (EMS) is how challenging it is for many program managers and salespeople to negotiate with customers. I’m often told the industry has changed, but when I ask hard questions I tend to find that the biggest change is that the people doing the negotiation seem to know a lot a less about the business of building electronic products than their predecessors. And this isn’t just on the EMS side. Years ago, OEMs put highly technical senior people on the team that managed outsourcing efforts. While those people were tough negotiators, they negotiated based on strong knowledge of the processes and challenges inherent in electronics manufacturing. Similarly, EMS program managers (PMs) were often pulled from operations. If expenses were increasing, they had the knowledge to explain the reason a price increase was necessary.
Service sector businesses have plenty of functional parallels to SMT.
As CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY Editor-in-Chief Mike Buetow pointed out in his April editorial, hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs are going unfilled. However, the notion that the smallest demographic of employees is in the 30 to 50 age range surprised me. My hypothesis for this is slightly different from Mike’s.
Back in the late ’90s/early 2000s, we were publicly touting the evolution of our economy into a service economy. I think folks entering the job market during that period simply focused on the concept of 21st century jobs. In the STEM events I’ve attended, many of the students I’ve talked with have no concept of factories (outside of thinking about putting a 3D printer in their garage). To them, a high-tech career involves a glass office in Silicon Valley.
How EMS companies with plants in the US or Mexico can benefit.
Manufacturers’ planning is stagnant and awaits US government guidance.