James Di Burro
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President at Round Rock Consulting
My thoughts on ... What I think about Foxconn
Foxconn (Hon Hai) is a tremendous success story and a clear validation of the concept of virtual manufacturing. Although they have their fair share of detractors, I truly admire what they have accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Terry Gou and his team have done a commendable job developing and dominating the Consumer sector of EMS.
EMS companies I have worked with
I began my career with Honeywell-Bull which morphed into Bull Electronics, which grew from a start-up venture to a top 10 EMS provider in less than 5 years. I was later recruited by IBM as their first EMS industry business development resource in anticipation of the spin-off and launch of Celestica, During my 11 years with IBM/Celestica I played a substantial role in growing revenues from <$1B to greater than $10B in under four years. I later joined Plexus Corp as a Vice president.
The skills I often see lacking in the EMS industry today
Marketing in general is a major gap. Consultative Selling skills are not well distributed or understood. Professional program management is hit or miss, as is New Product Design and Commercialization capabilities. Some providers are better than others in some of the above areas, but none possess the full range of capabilities required for true 'one-stop' virtual product realization.
What I think about some of the emerging EMS markets or regions
I believe the emerging regions will play important roles, and in particular I believe India and low cost Europe could play increasingly important roles as domestic demand in those regions continues to develop. That said, I believe we will also see a resurgence in domestic US and Western European manufacturing as a better understanding of Total Landed Life Cycle Costs becomes more widely known.
What I think about low-cost manufacturing
In general low cost manufacturing is seldom as low-cost as many believe. Per my previous comments I believe many OEMs do not fully invest in capturing all costs, (tangible and intangible) associated with remote low labor cost region production.
My thoughts on what makes a good program manager
In my experience the best program managers are the ones that have 1) Operational understanding or direct experience. 2) Formal business training, & 3) Are able to communicate effectively at all levels, with the objective of seeking a long term win-win for the OEM and EMS organizations.
A book I recommend to others or am currently reading
"Washington: A Life" A comprehensive biography of George Washington written by Ron Chernow. Aside from the fascinating details regarding our early days as a country, this book provides very valuable insights into the various leadership styles of our founding fathers and why they were more (or less) effective.
If I could travel back in time and witness any event one would be
On a personal level it would be the arrival of my great grandparents here in the USA. I can only imagine the courage it must have taken to leave all you've ever known,a nd everyone you've ever cared for behind to start a new life from scratch.
On a historic level, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which at the time was roughly equivalent to a small group of business people in Shanghai declaring independence from China today.
One of my favorite quotes
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself he always seems to be doing both.
Enough for him that he does it well. -Lawrence Pearsall Jacks
Someone I would most like to sit next to at a dinner party
My own four children in 50 years. With luck I won't be wearing a bib and adult diapers.
From a historical perspective I'd have to say President Washington or John Lennon.
Some of the countries I have visited for work or play
Given my positions with Tier 1 EMS companies it would probably be easier to list those I've NOT been to, but some of my more memorable destinations were: Italy, UK, Ireland, Germany France, Monaco, Hungary Czech Republic, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, and last but not least, virtually every state in the US.
A helpful travel tip I often use
Pack well and NEVER check luggage, even for trips more than 3-4 days.
When traveling to Europe if possible get some sleep the morning you land and work from 1-7PM that same day.
When traveling to Asia try NOT to sleep until 10PM local time.
The ultimate consumer electronics product I would still like to see developed
An ipad / tablet device with holographic video conferencing and display projection, that has enough memory and processing power to replace my laptop.
A favorite electronics gadget
My I-phone 3GS
One of my favorite toys as a child
I lead the overall strategy development as well as business development and expansion activities for Round Rock Consulting LLC (RRC) a product realization firm that I founded in 2007.
Prior to founding RRC I spent nearly 20 years working in operational, business development, and executive leadership roles with leading EMS providers such as Bull Electronics, Celestica, and Plexus. I am a strong proponent of consultative business development practices. I believe there is tremendous opportunity to create value through the implementation of professional sales and marketing processes and best practices in the context of OEM-EMS relationships.
When I'm not in the office I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling for business and pleasure, reading and relaxing on the NH coast, playing or coaching Basketball, and restoring cars from the 60's and 70's.
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