© asteelflash Electronics Production | May 04, 2016

'I'm not just a manufacturing provider, I'm a service provider'

Asteelflash is one of the bigger – Europe-based – EMS companies out there that operate on a global scale. But the being big isn't the impressive thing here, keeping the right level of focus on each of its customers is.
Neil Mincher, the General Manager of Asteelflash UK Division, gave Evertiq some insight in how an EMS-provider of the size of Asteelflash separates itself from the rest.

We've left 2015 behind us and we slowly (but surely) get a feel for what the new year will have to offer. But looking back, how was the year for Asteelflash?

“Asteelflash won 3 places in the Global TOP 50 EMS providers (MMI) in 2015, with revenue growing compare to 2014. From a UK point of view we did reasonably well and results were pretty much as expected. The market is still quite vulnerable and volatile in certain segments and — sure we did experience some of that, but we recovered in other segments.”

"Quality, service and on-time delivery have to be paramount"
The UK side of the group dabbles in quite a few segments. This, I guess, provides a few more legs to stand on?

“We do really – if you look at our segmentation today we've got industrial, communication, data transfer, monitoring systems and sensors. Here in the UK we predominantly manufacture for the sectors Security Products, but also secure products, and Aerospace.”

How do you differentiate yourself from the competition? Production for such a diverse portfolio could be seen as lacking a clear focus.

According to Mr. Mincher there is a long and a short answer. “I'm not just a manufacturing provider, I'm a service provider.” However, the long one provides a few more layers.

“What that means is that quality has to be a key point. And quality can make an appearance at any stage of the process really; in the final product, how you interact with a customer or how you respond to changes. Manufacturing is just a part of that service. But quality, service and on-time delivery have to be paramount.”

He goes on to explain that this is – or should be – one of the most important factors, regardless of which segment you are delivering to. You have to be able to offer a quality service.

“It's all about the rules of engagement with the customer. Right from the start we work closely with new customers; to make sure that those rules are clearly defined and known. You need to be close to your customers. And I believe that this is in fact a differentiation. We do get involved, even general managers get involved.”

We're already in 2Q/2016. Can you make out any general trends for the rest of the year?

“I think there is a lot of visibility for monitory systems as of late. With the ageing of our population we see an increased demand and need for monitory systems. This can range from wristbands for patients suffering from Alzheimer or other care products. We already manufacture for this segment, but it becomes clear that there is an increased demand for the wristband type of technology. It is an exciting new technology.”

Business-wise, how is the year looking for AsteelFlash?

“We do see a softening in the market when it comes to certain segments. However, we are projecting a 10 percent YoY growth.”

“We make sure to engage with customers that we can accompany on the long-term and with which we can establish real partnerships. It is very important that the roadmap fits between our customers and us.”

Asteelflash UK has customers with a strong UK presence that require a well-oiled global supply chain and a global reach. Others may think and operate regionally and still others want to think globally while acting on a local level.
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