Timely Transitions: Coordinated Technical Support to Combat Trade Wars
By Tim Twining, Indium Corp.
Having a strong global technical support team is critical, but never more so than it is today. As the global economy rapidly shifts, more and more companies are relocating or moving their contract manufacturing location to Mexico from other regions—and the profit is promising.
For example, the Mexican automotive manufacturing industry has seen sharp increases over the past year. According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), January 2019 saw a 9.9% production increase compared to January 2018.
While an analyst could offer a more detailed critique of this trend, the obvious driving factor is the need to continue serving the Americas. As China’s labor rates rise and trade disputes continue between the United States and China, the electronics industry sees an increasing benefit to hosting operations in Mexico. For a growing number, this means relocation or transitioning to contract manufacturers located in Mexico —which comes with its own set of challenges. And that’s where the advantage of experienced, coordinated technical support adds significant value—a globally-connected team can provide local support to assist with a company’s transition from one region to another.
As significant business migrates from Asia to Mexico, the demand for experienced, knowledgeable process engineering talent climbs. They are needed to move new lines in, validate the builds being transitioned to the site, optimize the process parameters to ensure high yields are consistently achieved, and more. All of these demands must be met while still attending to the current customer base. With the surge in demand for process engineers, the engineering departments are being stressed like never before.
Indium Corporation is committed to providing the very best engineering support. To us, that means tested and proven technical talent. We are proud to have some of the most experienced and committed technical support engineers in the industry located throughout the world. With the right people in place, we can help our customers make smooth transitions and ramp-up with original equipment manufacturers, their contract manufacturing, and test sites around the world.
Training: As with any new manufacturing site, there is a period of learning that must be achieved. An experienced technical support team can be greatly valuable in expediting this process. From One Engineer to Another®, our technical experts provide training and line support on everything from board design to the ideal process for using solder paste materials to ensure that the line starts and runs smoothly.
Troubleshooting: Again, with any new manufacturing site, troubleshooting is a natural part of the startup process. Experienced technical support will be able to provide perspective on issues that may arise—it is fairly common occurrence that when an SMT line experiences a problem, it has already been solved at a different site. Indium Corporation’s technical team is able to bridge that knowledge gap.
Experience: Indium Corporation’s model puts knowledgeable leaders in place who are responsible globally for a set of customers’ sites around the world. This practice ensures communication and collaboration not only amongst our technical team, but also to build relationships and ensure support at the customer site.
Some may feel that it’s a bold statement to claim that our—or any outside team—can help another company establish its own new manufacturing line at a new site. But Indium Corporation has achieved world-class, coordinated technical support through a variety of best practices over more than 85 years.
Our culture—The Indium Way—purposefully promotes a global practice of respect, appreciation, and achievement. This means cultivating employees from around the world to work together to support our customers’ challenges and initiatives. Global coordination combined with extensive training and knowledge sharing via classroom, online, and in-the-lab experience ensures that we remain flexible enough to help our customers respond when global policy takes another pivot.
With Indium Corporation’s reputation of having the largest and strongest technical support team among soldering materials suppliers in Mexico, we are here to help. Whether it be technical training for newer engineers, independent line audits to provide another set of eyes on the process, or collaboratively working together on problem solving or yield improvement programs, we are uniquely positioned to help during this stressful surge period.