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68 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2019 and choose by tag-teaming with their internal team or handing off certain defined areas to us. Internally, we have the capability to offer them from concept all the way to a launched product. All the services we offer are not after- thoughts; these are well-integrated internal teams. We've put together world-class services and talent at Whizz. Johnson: That makes a lot of sense. Some shops would start at a defined spot in the manufac- turing chain, but you're in a place where you can become involved wherever the customer is in their overall flow. Irfan: Exactly. Typically, customers have always reached to Taiwan for the original design man- ufacturer (ODM) model, but ODMs evaluate how much volume they will generate from a customer; they don't take ODM business from everyone. There's also an intellectual property (IP) risk with that model and no specialization in the hardware; it's the same hardware. Every ODM in Taiwan is sharing with each other, so it's the same design. They will just put a dif- ferent logo, bezel, or front plate on it, but the engine is the same underneath. Thus, there is almost no hardware distinc- tion in the product. The only distinction you are left with is software. In our model, we say, "We are your U.S. ODM," and there aren't too many of us in the U.S. In Silicon Valley, we are pretty much the only ones who can offer this type of model. We have the engineering team and world-class manufacturing in Sili- con Valley, and we have a path to cost reduc- tion with our own factory in Malaysia, which has played very well for us because there is no tariff issue in the current environment there. We know where we excel, and we know what to not get into. We are up-front with the cus- tomer. We will take you from the early concept through new product introduction (NPI) and certification. We'll get the product done, and that includes hardware, embedded firmware, and software—the complete package. You can still choose to keep whatever you want to until a certain volume, but if we have too much high volume, that's not who we are. We help you with where you would need to go, so our strength is knowing our strengths and whether we are a good fit for the customer. Overall, that is a huge value-add to the cus- tomer, especially startups, because they can go to a friendly place that understands startup culture and knows how to help and can keep them disciplined if they lack that. Sometimes, we have customers who want to run very fast, but they have not defined the product well enough so that counter-produc- tive speed hurts the project more than it helps. Going too fast leads to defining things as we go, and the cost of correction becomes huge. We educate the customer upfront and hold their hands as well where we see it is a neces- sity to prepare them better. We know how to engage them and be efficient with this whole process. Johnson: Based on this role, it sounds like you're providing a lot of services that work well for startups or smaller volumes with an understanding that a successful product is going to graduate into a different channel out- side of what Whizz does. Irfan: Many products don't go to those large volumes, so we are a great fit for launch, NPI, and early production runs through our Malay- sia facility. If they start to build tens of thou- sands of units a month, we can either man- age other CMs better suited for that type of The Whizz Systems staff, taking care of their customers.

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