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Is FLEX product development and scale embedded in EMS reality?

OEMs performing provider due diligence are contracting with a specific factory or series of provider factories. Get the provider to put in writing which managers/management teams will be assigned to and managing your program.

By Mark Zetter

Is Flex above all the rest? Recent Wall Street analysis on top-tier electronics solutions provider Flex differentiates the Company in industry citing a wide range of service capabilities and the Company’s “sketch-to-scale(TM)” marketing tag line .

Flex offers a wide range services in industry and the Company does serve a range of industry markets.

But many other electronics solutions providers offer similar engineering and design services complete with depth to explore product concepts supported by in-house materials research, components design and selection and processes that help optimize electrical systems design, firmware development, and create mock-ups (sketch) and performance simulations leading to real innovation and prototypes and ultimately NPI followed by ramp-to-volume production (scale) for their OEM clients. (Read more about design and prototype development and NPI time-to-market challenges)

Like Flex, there are also many other providers serving the same range of industries as Flex while supporting their customers with dozens of design and manufacturing locations across the globe. Flex can count more engineers than smaller firms (and some tier-1 providers) but having more engineers with a broader range of capabilities does not automatically equate to better service.

 

What are you doing specifically to measure management and worker productivity, minimize inefficiencies and waste across departments and, hold EMS employees supporting production of my programs accountable?

— OEM

 

Electronics solutions providers will talk to their range of services and technology capabilities when courting OEM prospects, but this does not always mean those capabilities are available to customers once the deal is signed.

RELATED
Measuring EMS WIP (as % raw materials)

Many electronic solutions firms (including Flex) have proprietary technologies and licensed software to internally help customer programs with quoting, product design, manufacturing optimization and supply chain management.

These technologies are many times marketed to prospects during site tours and in management meetings as differentiators for the solutions provider. (Read: Solutions provider financial due diligence for OEMs)

What matters

The Flex Wall Street report also cites the importance of early co-development between OEMs and solutions providers. Other companies offering early co-development like Flex include JabilFoxconn, Sanmina, Celestica, Plexus, Benchmark plus, a gaggle of others (big and small).

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