Electronics Production | March 23, 2012

Growing in the UK: A talk with EMS

Electronic Manufacturing Solutions (EMS) is a well-established UK company that's enjoying continued growth. Sales Director Roland Joy talks about the company's position in the UK CEM market.
Established as a test house in 1998, EMS entered the CEM market in 2000. It's been growing in recent years. Although still a small company, with around twenty employees, they've just installed a second Panasonic MV2F at their plant in Thatcham, Berkshire.

According to Roland Joy there will be a full new second line up and running soon.

"The business is growing very strongly, in all honesty it's grown quite strongly over the last four years," he says. "But the last fifteen to eighteen months I guess we've put more emphasis into sales and into making a conscious effort to grow the business and we've seen the rewards of that. So this new investment is obviously giving us the additional resource that we clearly need to meet the new demands upon us".

All of EMS' business is currently in the UK, and Joy sees importance in serving a diverse range of sectors, which is what the company does, for example serving the broadcast, instrumentation, medical and homeland security sectors.

"It gives a certain amount of security. If one sector of the industry for whatever reason were to take a dive, it would be a sad state of affairs if all your business happened to be in that sector, as happened many years ago now with the communications sector," Joy explains.

Because the company deals mainly in small to medium volumes, they've largely avoided competition from Eastern Europe and cheaper markets. For the company to continue to prosper, support of their customers through the development, early model and prototype stages is seen as paramount.

"With a small handful of exceptions the majority of our work tends to be anything from prototype up to, I suppose a typical batch of 100 to 200 boards at a time. So that kind of volume I think in the most part tends to be done locally as opposed to offshore," says Joy.

"I think it is important that we continue to support the prototype and R & D stages because it's still true I think that if you are in at the ground floor you tend to still be there when the product is through pre-production and is going into full production volumes. I think it's important that we continue to hold the hands of those people in the early stages. We also have a number of projects that run in larger volumes (up to 3 - 5k/mth in some cases) and many of those started off as prototype models at EMS."

Of course this work requires a skilled workforce which can be a challenge for a small company without time or capacity to train.

"It can be difficult, I think usually we finish up attracting people who have carried out similar roles with similar companies locally, although we do provide specific in-house training in certain areas, and we do have our own in-house IPC-A-610 trainer" says Joy.


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