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September 2015 • SMT Magazine 97 Las Marias: what about the risks and challenges when a decision has been finalized to automate certain assembly processes? Tan: The risks are always the changes: They could be policy changes, market changes, or they could be design changes, and so on. The way to hedge that is the amount of preparation and engineering you do ahead; if you have a very robust new product introduction system, you will be able to alleviate those risks. Las Marias: From a production standpoint, how does automation benefit the company? Tan: One, it gives you the quality level that you are shooting for, and two, it provides the productivity that you have anticipated for that particular standpoint. Those are easily the clear benefits that you can have. It's not because you take out labor, it's just that you are now able to redeploy the talent that you have to more creative and innovative things. Because the ma- chines can never innovate; only people can. Therefore I still need that core group of people to innovate the system, the whole manufactur- ing flow. Las Marias: Could you give your comments on industry 4.0? Tan: I think this enables making the right deci- sion at the right time, because clearly by being able to do a lot more data analysis, optimization can then occur. If you are able to monitor a lot more steps than just the beginning, you can op- timize those individual steps. That's where the Internet of Things, the monitoring, and the au- tomation comes in. Las Marias: what is your long term outlook for the Ems industry? Tan: It's going to transition. There are going to be some consolidation necessary. A group of people will be concentrating on the consumer side; another group will be concentrating on the highly reliable niche automotive and indus- trial and non-consumer applications. Because inevitably, the skill set, the systems, the mind- set in order to produce one from the other can- not overlap. And so I see that there's going to be a bipolar distribution of EMS players: those that are going to go after scale, and those that are going to go after quality. We have decided that we are in the quality side. Las Marias: how do you see the Ems industry changing over the next three to five years? Tan: The industry is changing. In the past, they [customers] say "This is my product, I build ev- erything in it." And then you saw the transition; although they own the entire product, they al- ready outsource pieces of it. I think what's go- ing to happen is that the consolidation of the systems will happen, and then the partners of choice will now have a larger percentage of that piece, out of the entire car, or out of the entire appliance, or out of the entire computing struc- ture. Las Marias: Do you have any final comments? Tan: In spite of the volatility in the global mar- ket, I think the trends are very clear, and that the continued expectation that the market is going to grow, driven by the growth in the con- sumption in Asia in general, is going to happen. Las Marias: great, thank you very much, arthur. Tan: Thank you, Stephen. smt FeAture interview DrIvING INNOvAtION continues

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