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30 SMT007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2022 Feature Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Electronics manufacturers like Emerald EMS are finding that as the consumer mar- kets experience a slowdown, and supply chain woes are lightening, challenges persist. Chris Lentz, vice president of supply chain logistics, and Joe Garcia, vice president of sales and mar- keting, break down the issues their company has faced over the past two years in working with vetted sources, not backing down in the face of adversity, and most importantly, forg- ing better relationships with customers. One thing they've learned is how to be creative in finding parts while maintaining their reputa- tion with customers. Just because you find it cheaper online doesn't make it valid. Chris and Joe explain. Nolan Johnson: With respect to being a responsive EMS supplier to your custom- ers, what are the biggest challenges you're fac- ing right now? Chris Lentz: Last year, we had to use non- f r anchi s e s up p lier s more than ever—more than I would ever like to, more than I have in my history. We restrict it to three or four that we've vetted and audited. But this year, as the market has become even more con- strained, it's very difficult now to find some of the same parts the auto- motive guys are looking for. Brokers are Breathing Room in Parts Supply springing up out of the woodwork with unbe- lievable pricing, sometimes 50 times, if they have it, of the normal cost. at makes this year a little bit tougher. We see some break as the consumer mar- kets are slowing, with cellphone demand, and other products. We get dribs and drabs of parts we weren't expecting to see for six months. For example, we may need a shipment of 10,000, but we'll get a reel of 3,000. I have a lot of direct, high-level contacts with manu- facturers, and while they won't say there's a

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