Supply Chain Meets Design Chain

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Outside of consolidation, job loss, and sales pain in the Great Recession, there were more subtle transformations going on in the supply chain and design chain.

Where some contract manufacturers saw a time of peril, others saw a time of opportunity to get much more competitive, not only in North America but also against Asian sources.

Savvier contract manufacturing companies — to get more competitive — looked to design and design services, either expanding existing offerings or building them. In some cases, they engaged in partnerships to offer a broader value proposition to existing customers and potential customers.

Meet one of them. SMTC is a contract manufacturer located in Ontario, Canada. Idneo Technologies, S.L. is a Spanish design house with offices in Silicon Valley. Several years ago at a Design West event, representatives from the two companies started to chat. A romance blossomed and from that came a partnership.

The partnership now offers customers design services all the way to finished product, with a global embrace that stretches from Canada to Silicon Valley to Europe and Asia.

I caught up with John Bran, vice president of global sales and marketing for SMTC; Brian Morrison, corporate value engineering manager for SMTC; and Raul Lucas, general manager of engineering services Idneo, at their booth at Design West this week to hear their story:

6 comments on “Supply Chain Meets Design Chain

  1. HM
    April 25, 2013

    some of the contract manufacturers or even the distributors or suppplier after settling in the business try to do some design work. But unless they are focussed and hire the right team its difficult to sail in design areas. but definitely its something they must try.

  2. Brian Fuller
    April 25, 2013

    Rich, hi. Your best bet would be to follow the coverage on EDN and EET. I'll have some follow up stories in the days ahead, particularly from a great interview with Microchip CEO Steve Sanghi. He's got some pretty strong supply chain opinions!

    April 25, 2013

    It is good to see these guys thinking outside the box and moving further up the chain of invention and creativity.

  4. _hm
    April 25, 2013

    It will be nice to provide reference design to promote specific part and develop good rapport with customer. It is also nice to keep some expert engineer who can help in specific design area. But design service at product or sub-assembly level may not be good idea for customer. Customer may eventually loose his customer/market in this type of development. Design needs to be in-house. If someone elese finds out it to be lucrative, they will jump in this market and spoil profit margin for all.


  5. Daniel
    April 26, 2013

    “Where some contract manufacturers saw a time of peril, others saw a time of opportunity to get much more competitive, not only in North America but also against Asian sources.”

    Brain, yes at certain point of time market situations/conditions are like that. They can complement each other.

  6. hash.era
    April 29, 2013

    @flyingscot: Exactly, thinking beyond the boundary is something which we all expect from our employees. That is the path to success. Not the short cut though.           

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