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SMT-Sept2015

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92 SMT Magazine • September 2015 Las Marias: Please describe imi's operations in asia. how important is this market for the com- pany? Tan: Asia is important for us because on a global basis, the world economy is actually dependent on the forward growth of Asia itself. And to us, that's a very important segment. All the tier 1 customers that we deal with are actually fo- cused on Asia themselves, because their current markets in the developed countries that they operate in originally are actually getting flat or slowing down. The growth is actually coming out from ASEAN and Asia. Growth drivers are primarily fueled by de- mographics, and then the GDP growth of the individual economies in Asia and that of China. As those numbers go up, consumption goes up, and then the need for products move from sim- ple electronics products to more durable goods, and cars, for mobility. China and the Philippines still comprise two-thirds of our total revenue. That's been the hallmark of our businesses. We have the most number of facilities in the Philippines and Chi- na. On a combined basis, we have about eight manufacturing sites in these two countries alone, aside from our hub in Singapore. Asia plays a very significant role so we will continue to be focused on it. Las Marias: over the past three decades, how would you describe the evolution that has hap- pened in the Ems space in asia in particular, from your perspective? Tan: The EMS space has evolved primarily be- cause in the beginning, it was only considered contract manufacturing, and labor-intensive type of outsourcing work. From there, the re- quirement has now evolved to being not only capable of producing and having the labor force for it, but understanding and having a platform of engineering and technology for it, in order to complement the products. Brand managers, the ones that own the brands themselves, are finding out that they have a big, wide product breadth that they serve the market with, but they cannot be experts in all of them. And so they need a very strong partner who will be able to provide the engineering, the technology and the manufacturing knowhow at the quality lev- el that they are aspiring for. And these partners are what have now evolved as the EMS partners of choice. Las Marias: the Ems industry in asia, i would say, offers intense competition, with the big guys in taiwan such as Foxconn and Pegatron; singa- pore's Flextronics; and those players in mainland China. that's not to mention the multinational companies including Jabil, Celestica and sanmi- na, to name a few. how does imi keep up with the competition? Tan: It's like a horse race. That's the reason it's difficult to win the Triple Crown, because you cannot have the same horse running ev- ery single race track in every single race and win in the same manner. The large EMS firms you mentioned are more focused on consumer products—which we are not. So if you take out the consumer products—let's focus on the au- tomotive electronics parts—here we are already ranked number seven in the world, soon to be the top five. That's the part we are concentrat- ing on. So we are not really a volume, consumer manufacturing powerhouse—we'll never have that revenue base—but we will be able to pro- vide the engineering and expertise that our partners need for their product realization re- quirement in the space that is niche in these industries that we look at: automotive electron- ics, industrial and telecommunications. That's our value proposition. A lot of our customers who work with us, most of them are single-source, and the reason for it is they need a partner that they know will not drop them at the drop of a hat; has the lon- gevity; has the financial strength to stay with them; and at the same time are aligned in the value system that they have as individual corpo- rations for what they want to be, as a sustainable business that will make an effect for the world. Las Marias: what are the three biggest challenges for imi as an Ems company? Tan: From a technology standpoint, the chal- FeAture interview DrIvING INNOvAtION continues

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