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Adam Chinery, managing director at Computer Components Ltd (CCL) and Gayle Paterson, account director, Buzzword Tech, discuss the company's 20-year anniversary and find out how CCL play an active role in supporting original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and electronic manufacturing service (EMS) customers, enabling them to get a financial return on the excess component inventory that they may hold.
Gayle Paterson: Hello, Adam. Thank you for your time today. I read with interest that CCL will celebrate its 20th year anniversary in August 2017. Congratulations! During this time, you must have seen a lot of changes within electronics manufacturing, and we will go into that in more detail later. But let's start by winding the clock back 20 years. What was the motivation behind establishing CCL?
Adam Chinery: I worked for an established distributor for 10 years, and during that time, I identified the opportunities that existed in managing OEMs' excess inventory. The company that I worked for experimented in inventory management, and this is where a seed was planted. I developed a business plan that concentrated on creating a company that would be 100% focused on inventory management.
The business was founded with the proceeds of the sale of my motorbike, and the initial premises were offices above a wool shop near Kenilworth, Warwickshire. To fulfill my dream, I knew I had to invest in good people. Therefore, in 1988, I recruited my first employee, Vicky Osborn, followed by Kasper Henriksen, both who are still with CCL to this day in senior positions.
With more feet on the ground, we were energized and grew to the point that we needed more space, so we moved into a converted farm building, which offered us more room to expand. But, even this wasn't home for long, we learned that by the time you factored in space for a growing team and storage to hold a comprehensive component stock level, somewhere more suited to scale our business was required. This journey took us to our current location, near Exeter in the South-West, where we have expanded into additional warehousing and approximately 15,000 sq. ft of space.
I believe our success was the result of our business commitment, we didn't deviate from our original plan and we have not diversified. In 1997, there was a gap in the market to be an excess inventory partner with a 100% true focus, and today we remain one of the largest companies dedicated to excess management solutions.
Paterson: Bringing you back to the present day, Adam, how would you say CCL has evolved over those 20 years to meet the needs of your OEM and EMS customers?
Chinery: Technology has advanced massively during the past 20 years. Fax communication has given way to email, Skype, and video. The ability to market material to a vast international audience via online trading platforms has increased our ability to put our OEMs overstock in front of literally thousands of potential buyers.
Advances in software development have enabled us to create bespoke programs to match excess inventory against live market demand. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter have made communication with existing and new customers much more engaging and efficient.
The large distributors work more closely now with their OEMs than they did 20 years ago, which has helped to reduce the excess positions of their customers. But, excess inventory will unfortunately always be an issue that all OEM and EMS customers face, and when they do, it is important they choose an established inventory management specialist to guide them.
Paterson: To be able to compete in your market Adam, it sounds as though you must need to hold an extensive amount of knowledge about current market component pricing. Can you tell us which indexes or guides you follow to keep up-to-date with market price fluctuations?
Chinery: In addition to our 20 years of sales history, we subscribe to numerous pricing platforms, enabling us to access franchise pricing as well as being able to see pricing within the independent distribution sector. This allows us a balanced and more realistic overview of the current market situation.
Also, a smart and connected part of what we do comes from us asking our OEMs customers to send us their bill of materials (BOMs) as well as their excess inventory. We are then able to match one customer's demand with another customer's surplus, making everyone happy. It really is a win, win.
Paterson: What are the market trend company policies that OEMS and EMS are required to practice that support your business model?
Chinery: Over the past 20 years, our OEM and EMS customers have changed. They don't just offer printed circuit board assembly, they offer supply chain solutions. As a result, their operations are more efficient, working toward the "smart factory".
As our customers adapt, we are flexible enough to help them to reduce their inventory stock levels and overheads, which enables them to fulfill many of their objectives for Lean.
Paterson: Thank you, Adam. Lastly, what do you think the next 20 years will hold for CCL?
Chinery: We will continue to be the partner of choice for OEMs and EMS, with a one-stop solution to their excess component inventory. Despite the various improvements in the industry detailed above, excess inventory will unfortunately always be an issue that all OEM and EMS companies face; and when the challenge arises, choosing an established inventory management specialist to assist them is vital.
Our 20 years of experience is gained from partnering with some of the best-known global technology companies, and our status as an independent broker means we are flexible enough to provide a bespoke service for any requirement. CCL has evolved to help thousands of electronics companies with managing their inventory, freeing up valuable warehouse space and providing cashflow.
And, without giving too much away, we have entered an exciting new chapter. About one year ago, we invested in a new marketing manager, Lauren Costello Fox. We made this investment in talent, not only to continue to delight current customers but also to help us find new opportunities. Ms. Costello Fox has been charged to evolve the face of CCL, taking 20 years of brand heritage and identity to celebrate our achievement and to drive forward change. We will still be CCL, but we are moving into the age of intelligence to educate our audience on how to make CCL a component part of their business for the next 20 years and beyond.
Computer Components Ltd (CCL) is a specialist buyer of active and passive components. For 20 years we’ve served electronics manufacturers all over the world, from small to large operations, specializing in excess inventory management.
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