Collaborating with supply chain partners is key for Dynamic EMS. Supply chain manager, Paul Freeman, reveals how this strategy helps tackle challenges such as lengthening lead-times and Brexit uncertainty
Q – Does Dynamic EMS work with indigenous customers and suppliers, or manage an international supply chain?
A – We manage a global supply chain across the three main continents of the Americas, Europe and Asia. In Asia, we work through intermediaries to simplify the supply chain process for our original equipment manufacturer customers and to keep costs as low as possible, while maintaining a foothold within the geography. In Europe, we work with the main broad line distributors, such as Arrow, Avnet, Future, Rutronik and EBV Elektronik, as well as other European distribution channels. Our partnerships ensure that these distributors hold the stock we require. They manage the supply chain and safeguard our strong and steady relationship with the component manufacturer.
Q – How does your supply chain balance clients’ needs and sourcing requirements?
A – We’ve worked with the same supply chain partners for over 20 years, so we understand one another’s business inside out. Through this collaboration, we can inject speed into the supply chain by being transparent. We believe transparency is the best form of accountability and we are open with our suppliers. We look at long-term contracts and solutions rather than short-term supply, demand and pricing. This allows us to build a tailored offering and to work as the customer’s intermediary for the lifetime of production and beyond. Collaboration is also key, and our supply chain partners are an integrated part of our business. We physically meet with all our supply chain partners as a group, annually, at our headquarters in Scotland. In addition to annual meetings, we get together individually with suppliers, as often as every two weeks, to discuss the market, trends and opportunities for both parties. Through this two-way knowledge transfer, we learn more about the components required to fulfil our customers’ build. This provides insight into any future technical requirements and where any challenges may present themselves, allowing us to create robust contingency plans. Working as a team with our supply chain partners, we help one another to fill in industry knowledge gaps. This puts Dynamic EMS in a strong position to add value for customers by keeping them informed on the health and well-being of their supply chain.
Q – What are the main challenges in the electronics manufacturing industry?
A – Lead-times are extending across a range of components and component allocation is becoming an issue, resulting in increased cost pressure for various components. Exchange rate fluctuations are also a potential challenge, alongside the issue of Brexit. To solve these industry challenges, Dynamic EMS works closely with both our supply chain network and customers. Customers expect us to mitigate the risks on their behalf so that we can fulfil their production forecast, or scale accordingly. In some instances, to ensure this, our customers are more open to longer-term commitments on sensitive parts, as they understand the benefits of planning to secure supply. As part of our planning process we monitor the pound daily and this is starting to strengthen. Fortunately, we have not seen any real adverse effect from Brexit. Initially, there was some hesitancy and nervousness, but at this present time, it is business as usual.
Q – What advice would you give other electronics manufacturing providers?
A – We don’t conduct our business like other EMS providers of our size. We don’t, for instance, simply shop online to source components through catalogue providers. Instead, we invest in relationships and this difference enables us to serve our customers more effectively and efficiently. The other main benefit of forming two-way partnerships is control. Control on cost and supply and demand. Dynamic aims to work with likeminded people, who understand how we operate and what our strategic objectives are. Every member of the Dynamic supply chain team understands the business metrics, the performance required and the potential opportunities. They are asked to contribute their ideas, many of which take root and go on to form the backbone of an innovative process, designed in-house by a member of our team. In short, my advice would be: collaborate, invest time to build relationships, and foster a business culture that embraces staff. These factors have all contributed to the success story for Dynamic EMS thus far.