We’re All In This Together
By Chng Boon Huei, President and CEO of Flexi Versa Group
The last few years of outsourced manufacturing have been punctuated by one disruption after another. First it was the US-China trade war, then the pandemic, next the component shortage issues, and while that is still going on we have the Russia/Ukraine war, further disrupting supply chains and adding geopolitical fears to other concerns.
There has been no time to take stock and return to some semblance of normality between these crises, indeed they have overlapped and continue to do so. In the world we currently find ourselves, disruptions are an everyday reality and we can only overcome the current and potential future challenges if we all pull together. That means the collaborative real partnerships formed between brands and their manufacturers are even more important. I’d suggest essential.
Increasing value, rather than reducing prices
For decades the outsourcing industry chased low cost labor around the world with a fanatical desire to drive down the price of manufactured goods. This came at the cost of the relationship between the OEMs or brands and the EMS companies that supplied them. Some larger brands remain focussed on driving their costs of goods sold (COGS) down, and as a result eroding the margins of their manufacturing partners. I ardently believe that this adversarial relationship is not sustainable and surely, not the one we look for and most certainly, not one that I believe serves either partner well in the long haul.
In each and every customer relationship we seek to add value wherever we can. This, I trust, is a more beneficial endeavor than just trying to take costs down at the risk of reducing margins to an unsustainable level. Yes, we want to deliver value by being a smart, efficient manufacturer and supply chain manager, but we prefer to focus on adding mutual value by improving designs for manufacturing and designing a supply chain that is as robust as possible.
Adding value starts at design and continues through the life of the product
We are always delighted when a customer engages with us early in their product journey. Experience has shown that this is when we can add the most value and deliver the best outcome, but it is also testament to the trust and openness we have developed in that customer relationship. Believe me that it is this trust, built throughout the process of doing so, that will bring the business partnership to greater heights that lasts.
There are two features of our service that allow us to really add value. One is our ability to design for the manufacturing process and the supply chain, as it currently is, and how it might be in the future. The second is that we can offer a vertically integrated solution that takes in parts, plastics, mechanics, elastomeric solutions, PCBA and final assemblies and even working with wood for acoustics, energy, home and lifestyle segments, as well as the designs I had already mentioned.
With respect to getting the product ready for production we design for manufacturing, we design for test, we design for supply chain and we design for disruption. The last few years have taught us the importance of each of these and in particular to make sure that a product design can be made now and in a future where supply chains or manufacturing solutions are disrupted by whatever is thrown their way.
In the end it’s the partnerships that add the most value
We count ourselves fortunate to have some amazing customers who really trust us and see us as an integral part of their business. They involve us in every part of their product strategy and allow us to add value wherever we can. They understand that sometimes things go smoothly and other times they don’t. They know they will always get a straight answer from us and that we will sit around the table with them and work out a solution together. We learn to appreciate their honesty and likewise, they enjoy ours. This is how trust is built and strengthened. And it’ll always be an asset that no one can take away from either of us.
I firmly believe these kinds of partnerships are the future of the outsourced manufacturing industry. If we agree we are all in this together and we all work together with the common goal of getting a great product to the end user and a good price we’ll all prosper and the partnership will be enduring and sustainable.
We actively seek out these partnerships and embrace what they can deliver for all the stakeholders within them.
You can learn more about Flexi Versa Group at https://www.flexiversa.com