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Nolan Johnson speaks with Gary Walker, vice president and co-founder of Javad EMS, about who they are as a company, where they came from, and where they’re going.
Nolan Johnson: Hi Gary, would you introduce us to Javad EMS?
Gary Walker: I started the business in 2010 with Javad Ashjaee, with whom I had become friends when I was working at SMTC, and he was a customer of mine. When I left SMTC to do consulting, Javad and I stayed friends. He was bouncing around among different CMs, struggling to find someone that could make his high-precision GPS products. It was a real challenge to find someone who had the technical expertise and capabilities to build those products in the volumes and requirements that he needed at that time. It is a very demanding product and as such a very demanding account.
After many discussions, Javad and I decided to open an EMS facility. We thought that if we could build products for the sister GNSS company, then we could more than meet the needs of other customers. We wanted to provide a different level of service and support than was traditionally being offered back in 2009 and 2010 by other CMs here in the Bay Area.
The building and equipment were all bought and owned by the company with no outside financing. There was that commitment right from the start. If we were going to provide a different level of service, the facility would reflect that. We have an atrium feel in our lobby, for example, as well as a large auditorium; we’ve just done things which make this facility different than others. That doesn’t necessarily translate to building a printed circuit board, but it reflects on us as a company, who we are, our level of professionalism, and how we want to be perceived.
We want anyone who walks through the front door to feel that they were treated very well and view us as very professional. That includes employees, customers, and suppliers. We’ve had an excellent retention rate because of it. We decided we wanted to be all things to a chosen few as opposed to trying to be all things to all people. That was our approach. The key is always to exceed their expectations so when they grow, we grow with them.
Johnson: You’re looking for a very specific kind of fit, somebody who values you as much as you value them. That makes good sense; I’m curious how you characterize your ideal customer.
Walker: I don’t think we’ve trapped ourselves into saying that the customer must be at a certain revenue level or has to be doing this or that. Instead, we look at all the different accounts and determine the best fit for us as we are looking for customers that will stay with us for some time.
Johnson: I’m hearing qualitative reasons and measures for an ideal customer.
Walker: You can have all the systems you want in place, but at the end of the day, you have to work with other people. You must be engaged and feel that they value you as much as you value them. Too often, companies are just looking for revenue generators, but if that customer doesn’t value you, how long does that revenue generator last with you?
To read this entire conversation, which appeared in the September 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.