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120 I-CONNECT007 I REAL TIME WITH... IPC APEX EXPO 2019 SHOW & TELL MAGAZINE by Tracy Riggan IPC—ASSOCIATION CONNECTING ELECTRONICS INDUSTRIES EMS leaders gathered on Monday, January 28, at IPC APEX EXPO 2019 to discuss issues critical to EMS providers today including sup- ply chain issues, cus- tomer contracts, labor optimization and talent shortages, and market insights. Roundtable ses- sions offered dynamic discussions. Participants noted that the sharing of experience and net- working that took place at these meetings was invaluable. The highlight of the day was a supply chain chal- lenges panel and discus- sion featuring supplier, distributor, and end-user perspectives on addressing component supply and lead time challenges. Panelists included Steve Ulm of Vishay, one of the world's larg- est manufacturers of discrete semiconductors and passive electronic components; Olaf Korn of Arrow Electronics, a global provider of prod- ucts, services, and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions; and John Caltabiano of Jabil Inc., a top manufacturing solutions provider. Among other factors, the panel pointed to customer-specific requirements as a key driver of supply chain disruption. Vishay's Ulm brought to light many of the contributing factors to the growth in lead times and recent slowdowns. Arrow's Korn highlighted the con- stant mismatch between downstream demand levels and upstream production capacity and complex demand patterns causing distortion of demand. He suggested BOM flexibility and forecasting far beyond lead times are key to mit- igating supply chain dis- ruption. Caltabiano from Jabil tagged a "new nor- mal" with regards to how we think and plan sup- ply chain, pointing to a consolidation of the sup- ply base, demand expan- sion, and rapid technol- ogy transfer among other trends. Elsewhere in the agenda, Jeff Roth and Allen Anderson of F&B Law Firm gave a thor- ough review in the much-needed area of cus- tomer contracts. Roth and Anderson addressed features such as compliance clauses, potential pitfalls or "gotcha" clauses, and other criti- cal contractual considerations. The gentlemen from F&B stressed the critical nature of legal review in protecting company interests. Throughout the day, the forum tackled labor issues from two directions—automation oppor- tunities and talent shortages. Neil Hamlett of IBM Watson brought to light some developing AI solutions. These new AI capabilities may soon have application in manufacturing pro- cesses where the challenges are affordability and practicality in high-mix, low-volume situa- 2019 IPC EMS Management Meeting Wrap-up

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