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EMSNOW 2023 Year in Review

What a year! The industry has experienced some rather substantial changes in 2023, and EMSNOW has been right there in the thick of it, interviewing the movers and shakers and making sense of it for our dear readers.

The most prominent industry pivot is what some are calling a trend of ‘de-globalization’. Companies are pulling back from an Asia-centric manufacturing supply chain. The supply chain disruptions that began during the pandemic have caused many C-Suite executives to re-think how they structure their global manufacturing footprint, aiming to rely less on China, or at least to have a China Plus One strategy.

Added to that is the infusion of massive government spending in the U.S. and Europe that is designed to to re-start key technology capacity, e.g. semiconductor and PCB manufacturing. These are complex operations and it won’t be easy to regain that knowledge and capability in North America and Europe, but with enough funding and strategic oversight from the industry, there are positive signs that it will reverse the tide.

As mentioned, many consider this a reversal of globalization brought on by geopolitical tensions. Here at EMSNOW, we think there is more to the story. While some stress this as ‘X-shoring’ (re-shoring, friend-shoring, near-shoring, etc.) – we consider this more about ‘regionalization’. Build in the region, for the region (i.e., local for local). It’s about designing a sensible way to sustainably shorten supply chains for these exploding applications for electronics.

The market for electronics has expanded dramatically beyond the ‘3- Cs’ of computing, communications, consumer. IIoT, automotive, mil/aero, agritech, medtech, and so many more applications create huge opportunities for the electronics manufacturing industry. EMS companies are adding new services like design, supply chain management, and NPI to PCBA. Companies are expanding capacity in all the regions.

This explosion of new markets means that the long, involved supply chains where components and products criss-cross oceans multiple times – adding cost, complexity and risk to the total cost of meeting the new demand – are no longer viable. The ability to source the bill of materials and the manufacturing services from the same region where the product will be sold just makes sense from a cost perspective – and also to reduce carbon emissions and environmental impact.

At EMSNOW, we are covering these trends most carefully and have adjusted our content accordingly. For example…

  • We have increased the articles and interviews with experts from the component industry, bringing Dale Ford, Chief Analyst of the Electronic Component Industry Association (ECIA) and leading distributor executives into our regular coverage.
  • To compile first-hand insights of the trends in the EMS industry itself, we regularly interview EMS executives, including in-person tours of facilities in Mexico and from across Europe, joined by Dieter Weiss, founder of European market research firm in4ma. These visits will be expanding in EMEA and North America in 2024.
  • We are actively covering the rise in counterfeit components that threaten the reliability of electronic products, including testing and counterfeit prevention measures taken by the distribution channel.
  • We seek out new technologies including how AI is being added to software solutions offered for electronics manufacturing use cases.
  • We cover the latest innovations in SMT equipment and processes. We are seeing increased applications for optical inspection and more adaptability/flexibility in the SMT equipment sets. As Industry 4.0 finally becomes a reality, we are covering how equipment manufacturers are incorporating these AI and data analysis tools into SMT processes and ensuring their customers are able to leverage the productivity gains.
  • We increased our coverage of EMS in Mexico and India, two regions that have seen major growth in 2023. We now have a monthly dedicated newsletter on both these important geographies.

We recorded over 70 interviews and 14 podcasts in 2023. Here is a link to the full playlist from 2023, in case you missed it.

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