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86 SMT Magazine • February 2017 services—all the facets of prod- uct realization and product devel- opment. We now get heavily in- volved with our customers in all those areas. We want our custom- er to own the early stages of de- sign, to do the selling and collect the money—and let us do every- thing in between. Las Marias: What are the challeng- es that you have experienced, and how were you able to navigate your business to be where you are today? Heath: There have been many challenges in almost 20 years, including sev- eral downcycles in the economy. But we fo- cused heavily on diversity in our customer base which limits our ability to be impacted by that. But of course, in 2009, it didn't really matter what industry you were in, everything fell off the cliff; you had banking constraints and an inability to get capital. Despite all those chal - lenges, we stayed on top, but we did that by doubling down on servicing the customers and having good relationships locally with bank- ers, with lending providers and PE firms who funded the growth coming out of the down- turn. Many competitors cut back heavily, but we invested in the people and technology to take us to the next level. We knew we couldn't service our customer base without a solid sup - port structure. Las Marias: In 2014, VirTex acquired MTI Elec- tronics. How has its acquisition benefitted the com- pany three years on? Heath: It has really heavily benefitted both companies. It gave us a second source location for disaster recovery in the event of a natural or other catastrophe, which is something that so- phisticated customers want; it gave us extreme strengths in the supply chain capabilities that MTI had, as well as some of the operational ef- ficiencies. Some of the software and analytics that we developed in Austin, we've been able to deploy into the Wisconsin facility. So, it's re- ally allowed us to look at all the things we did in both sites and offer addition- al services to customers that we weren't offering in that facility before. It gave us a broader capa- bility, as well as a higher service level. Las Marias: In November 2016, VirTex announced a new logo/vi- sual brand identity—which un- derscored the alignment of VirTex and MTI under a new VirTex brand. Please tell us more about this. Heath: We are moving into ad- ditional services and additional things that we feel are very cutting edge, com- pared to our competition, so we wanted our brand to reflect that. We also wanted to uni- fy the VirTex brand across our three facilities which, up to that point, had been operating under their original logos and names. Capital- izing on their brand equity, we brought them into the VirTex visual identity family, which in- ternally and externally reflects the fact that we all have common processes, goals and strate- gies. We feel the new brand reflects, not just the strength of the VirTex brand, but maintains the strength and history of the MTI and AVJ brands as well. Las Marias: Currently, what markets are the major drivers for growth for VirTex? Heath: We are seeing a lot of opportunities in clean energy; we are seeing a lot of them in medical—especially alternative methods of healthcare, to allow treatment to be performed better and more cost effectively—so addition- al new technologies and new technology devel- opments in the equipment space for medical. Certainly, there's a big bump in the amount of electronics going into any vehicle these days, so automotive electronics is growing —both the standard products going into Tier 1s as well as the aftermarket—is strong. Another big driver that is starting to roll out is the IoT, and con- nected devices, where pretty much, over the next few years, everything will be connected to everything and everyone else. VIRTEX DISCUSSES EMS CHALLENGES, NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND TRENDS Brad Heath

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