Electronics Production | June 18, 2009

Flextronics SBS: a specialised organisation within a global company

Part 1 of 4: Since 2005, EMS-provider Flextronics has operated a specialised organisation within its global operations focused on complex, lower-volume type business opportunities.
But what is SBS and what does it stand for? Flextronics SBS – or Flextronics Special Business Solutions – was originally formed in Europe to address regional customers, markets and business needs locally. However, it was also to provide gateway opportunities to the complete design, build, ship, service offerings of Flextronics.

Today, SBS has several thousand employees located over a network of sites including the following European based facilities: Austria (Althofen), Denmark (Skive), France (St. Etienne), Germany (Paderborn), Hungary (Tab), Ireland (Cork), Israel (Ofakim, Migdal HaEmek), Norway (Oslo), Sweden (Karlskrona) and Ukraine (Beregovo).

The SBS unit covers several different market segments including automotive, computing, consumer, industrial infrastructure and medical, as well as supports a wide revenue range across its many clients.

The SBS competes directly with many of the small or local EMS-companies. This means that their customer mix and the size of typical contracts are much smaller than those managed at Flextronics’ Industrial Parks, which are typically focused on high volume customers. The majority of the SBS customers are less than USD$10 million, which is the ideal strategy for a low volume / high mix business portfolio, particularly in Western European sites.

evertiq recently visited the facility in Paderborn to see how an SBS-facility operates. “Our strategy is well positioned - in line with the available market opportunities and also against our local competitors,” said Uwe Schmidt-Streier, general manager of the SBS Paderborn site. “As a result we have many customers across a variety of segments. Our primary focus remains on high end infrastructure and enterprise computing, but we also support many customers in industrial and automotive markets too.”

“You really cannot classify SBS by batch size or even customer size,” continued Uwe Schmidt-Streier. “Every customer has different requirements, and for some customers 50 units could be a high volume run”. As a result, the facility in Germany works with customers typically ranging from $2m to $50m.

The site today has several hundred employees, including temporary staff. In terms of out-put, it has component placement capacity of over 165.000 components/hour and manufactures over 500 different products for many local German customers as well as several OEM’s with local market presence.

This article is part of a series:

Part 2: Lean manufacturing at Flextronics SBS

Part 3: Flextronics: BTO and CTO

Part 4: Flextronics: Virtual Prototyping aids quality


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