Worldwide electronics industry survey reveals trends and strategic priorities

Our worldwide industry survey, Eyes on Electronics Outsourcing Industry Survey 2006, was sponsored in part by Underwriters Laboratories, Universal Instruments, and TES Electronic Solutions.

Surveys can quite possibly be the only tool that can generate specific numerical data in a repeatable and statistically valid format. However, in virtually every survey Venture Outsource has conducted over the years, traditional telephone and regular-mail surveys have been found to sometimes be costly and frankly, just too slow.

The data may also be skewed in some instances. Someone may behave or respond differently over the telephone during conversation if the individual knows his or her activities and / or responses are being evaluated.

Of the various survey types available, we’ve found online surveys to be quite effective because they encourage survey respondents to feel comfortable while enabling them to be privately polled at their convenience.

Note: Do you want VentureOutsource.com to include particular industry topics, subjects, or concerns in other surveys? E-mail comments or suggestions to insight@ventureoutsource.com

Companies wanting to sponsor a survey can inquire using the above email address.


 

 

 

Electronics outsourcing survey development and delivery
When developing our most recent survey, candid talks were held with more than 60 influential industry executives from various OEM companies and electronics contract manufacturing and original design manufacturing (ODM) and supply chain vendor companies, worldwide…focused on finding out what’s important to executives and their organizations.

This time-intensive, upfront work resulted in a large reservoir of industry concerns on the minds of executives across all five continents.

The guidance of several survey development professionals was enlisted to refine this information into effective survey questions. For example, in questions where ranking was to be achieved or a weighted value on a particular statement or subject, the order of responses for survey participants to select from was randomly generated to not influence a particular response.

Furthermore, in questions where it was appropriate to do so, the number of responses presented to survey participants to select from was intentionally limited to an ‘even’ number of options so that participants were encouraged to not ‘sit on the fence’.

The final survey questions presented to survey participants generated single select; multiple-choice, analysis of variance, ranking, and open-text responses.

In addition to open-text responses, many questions allowed respondents to provide clarification, or bestow ‘comments’, resulting in a high percentage of respondents (from all sectors in industry) choosing to offer additional, valuable commentary, in more detail for many survey topics / questions.

Various software applications were evaluated for delivering the survey to industry. Applications selected used decision-logic to direct, and redirect, survey respondents to subsequent questions based on responses to a previous question.

For example, an OEM respondent not currently engaged in electronics contract manufacturing was directed along a different pathway of questions than, say, an electronics contract manufacturing company respondent.

 

Electronics outsourcing survey respondents
More than 500 survey participants from industry helped to formulate the findings that follow. The majority of survey participants were managers and executives in electronics OEM companies actively involved in helping to formulate industry best practices; supplier performance evaluation and selection, as well as supplier disengagement decisions.

The second largest group of contributors to the survey was comprised of managers and executives in electronics contract manufacturing and original design manufacturing (ODM) companies.

The remainder of the survey respondent base was represented by vendors and suppliers and distributors to industry; government agencies, industry leaders in academia, major consulting firms, and other related and interested circles – each providing noteworthy thought and opinion.

Venture Outsource was able to collect; efficiently organize, and cross-tabulate a large volume of data because of the nature of Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) systems employed by innovative Internet survey technology.

The following definitions applied to the survey and were re-communicated to survey participants at appropriate intervals throughout the survey:

Electronics industry OEM: (original equipment manufacturers) provide OEM-branded electronics and related products to customer end-markets

Electronics industry contract manufacturers: offer supply chain services to OEMs but, in most instances, the electronics contract manufacturer does not own the intellectual property of the products it produces for the OEM

Electronics industry original design manufacturers (ODM): ODMs offer supply chain services to OEMs but, in most instances, the ODM company does own the intellectual property of the products it produces for the OEM.

Electronics industry prototype house: offers services to OEMs; electronics contract manufacturers, and ODM customers but does not typically own the intellectual property of the products it produces. (Noteworthy mention: for purposes of the survey, Prototype House was not always mentioned in each survey question but, the term and definition was clearly communicated in a manner in which it was easily perceived to be included in questions noting Electronics Contract Manufacturers and Original Design Manufacturers.

Electronics outsourcing survey respondent categories
Survey respondents from nearly 24 countries took part in the survey. For the purposes of this particular report, survey respondents completing the survey were categorized into one of four different categories:

I. Electronics industry original equipment manufacturing (OEM) companies currently outsourcing

II. Electronics industry original equipment manufacturing (OEM) companies not / yet outsourcing

III. Electronics industry contract manufacturers, original design manufacturers (ODM), prototype houses, and related

IV. Electronics industry materials and components and equipment manufacturers, vendors, suppliers, distributors and related, and ‘other’

The survey, in total, presented more than 140 questions to the worldwide electronics outsourcing and contract manufacturing industry. Outsourcing industry survey respondents completing the survey answered, on average 18 questions each — with some questions in multi-format.

Approximately one-half of all survey respondents reported being employed by organizations reporting annual revenues of greater than US$5 billion. Survey respondents represented a wide cross-section of electronics product and services end-markets.


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