Electronics Production |
Evertiq’s industry pulse report – Scanfil
Even with the ongoing pandemic and the current semiconductor shortage, EMS provider Scanfil has been able to report strong financial performance throughout 2021, supported by a robust customer demand.
In this article series, Evertiq has reached out to a number of European EMS providers to see how the challenges from the last two years have affected everyday operations. This time we will hear from Scanfil’s Vice President, Sales, Timo Sonninen. Given the fact that we have battled the pandemic for close to two years now, what lessons have been learned and what changes have been made in your company? “We have had a very good customer demand throughout the whole pandemic. The traditional ways of conducting business have been limited when traveling, and factory visits have been almost impossible. We have created a unique concept called virtual factory tour. This concept is a real-time visit to the factory via digital tools. Customers can ask questions and get answers right away. They can ask us to zoom into different production processes and see in real-time what is happening. This concept has been taken into use in all our factories. Many successful audits, new product approvals, and visits have been done since this was launched in 2020. In addition, we have developed new tools for customer relationship management. Despite major obstacles, we have learned how to keep production running in all factories,” Mr. Sonninen explains to Evertiq. As soon as we entered 2021, it became very clear that the pandemic isn’t the only problem weighing down on the industry, the shortage of components have greatly affected our industry and adjacent ones, how is your company working to overcome the issues of tight supply? “We have experienced some challenges already starting from Q2 2021. The material constraints have had some impact on our factories productivity due to continuous changes in the production plans caused by material shortages,” Mr. Sonninen says and continues. “We need to consider the material situation as a new normal where deep co-operation with customers and suppliers make a difference. There are also alternative ways to handle the situation; we are working together with the customers to re-design products or look for alternative components.” As a European manufacturer, what is your opinion on the fact that the European electronics industry is still very much dependent on Asia in terms of semiconductor supplies? “A more local supply chain would of course be ideal. But it would require a great collective European supply effort. The supply chain would not only become more flexible but also more sustainable due to shorter transportation routes.” Has the pandemic highlighted the need for closer and smaller supply chains in your opinion? “The main need to have a regional-based supply chain comes from the market, not so much from the impact of the pandemic. The main driver, I believe, is that the lead-time requirements are shortening all the time.” What is the general feeling now that we are drawing close to the end of 2021 and approaching 2022? “We expect strong customer demand to continue for the remainder of the year, and the demand looks positive in 2022. However, we believe that the challenges with material availability will continue. And as we all have seen, the fight against COVID-19 is far from being over; we focus on keeping our production ongoing with good countermeasures we have established.”