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68 SMT Magazine • December 2016 • Solution for companies divesting operations no longer in line with core competencies • Reduced time to market • Cost reduction • Offload of higher mix product • Access to new markets • End-of-life product support • Improved logistics support • Reduction in capital investment requirements • Convenience/proximity to an OEM team's location. The way most EMS companies differentiate themselves is typically through business model focus. Typically, EMS providers focus their ca- pabilities on one or more of four key areas: • Lifecycle expert • Service expert • Systems/infrastructure expert • Manufacturing expert Marketing strategy may be further differ- entiated by focusing on specific industry seg- ments with specialized needs. However, even when this is done, the value propositions and business model focus tend to align with lists provided earlier. So how does this translate to actual sales and marketing strategy? These four examples il- lustrate different approaches to differentiation and addressing the needs of target customers. Firstronic Firstronic is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and operates a wholly-owned facili- ty in Juarez, Mexico. It has expanded its global footprint beyond that via joint venture (JVs) in China, India and the Czech Republic. Its largest customer segment is automotive and that industry's desire to have its suppliers be able to launch product globally in multiple facilities was the primary driver of its rapid ex- pansion via JV. "We saw the JV option as the best way to expand geographically as rapidly as our auto- motive customers wanted us to without having to tie up large amounts of capital and manage- ment resources in starting multiple greenfield facilities around the globe. W e were fortunate to find JV partners with the same commitment to Lean manufacturing and superior performance, and have set speed records for project launch on some of our joint production projects," said Fir - stronic President and CEO John Sammut. That said, its North American facilities also support medical, consumer and industrial cus- tomers and those could also be supported via the JV facilities should the need arise. In terms of business models, its commitment to Lean manufacturing aligns with both the Manufac- turing Expert and Service Expert categories. Ad- ditionally, it has adopted a systems strategy that both force multiples its program manage- ment team and enables both staff and custom- ers to have 24/7 visibility into project status. Its value propositions include: • Convenience/proximity to an OEM team's location (specifically, automotive design teams in Detroit) • Access to lower cost labor markets (Juarez and strategic alliance locations) • Reduced time to market (systems and Lean manufacturing both reduce product delivery lead-times, while increasing schedule flexibility) Firstronic took a rather unique approach de- fining its target markets and ideal fit customers very narrowly. It actually "leaned down" its cus- EMS INDUSTRY SALES AND MARKETING: WHY STRATEGIES VARY WIDELY Firstronic's Lean manufacturing business model pro- vides customers with more schedule flexibility and suppliers with more predictable demand, while delivering best-in-class metrics on inventory turns.

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