IPC EMS Leadership Summit: Peer Solutions to Supply Chain and Labor Development


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EMS leaders gathered for the EMS Leadership Summit on Monday, January 24 at IPC APEX EXPO. Expert and peer presentations on priorities ranging from the economy to the supply chain, cybersecurity, and software were interspersed with peer-to-peer discussions on several key topics.

Supply Chain Challenges a Top Concern

Though the Supply Chain panel consisting of Tom Edman, TTM Technologies Inc.; Alex Iuorio, Avnet; and Tom Vanderheyden, TTI, Inc. could not provide a clear end to the current supply chain constraint, the EMS audience was grateful for an open and spirited discussion. The panel suggested that a Just in Time (JIT) strategy will need to be used in combination with other strategies like managed inventory, and that design owners will need to be more active in the future.

All agreed that steps can be taken to improve the situation, including automation of forecasting, programs to mitigate cash problems, and most importantly, building relationships with distributors and manufacturers. The panel encouraged the audience to provide more visibility and insights through web-based services to allow them to help drive better decisions and be trusted advisors. As Vanderheyden commented, “True partners manage through a crisis together.”

Economic and Policy Impacts Highlighted

IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac provided a comprehensive overview of the current economic and supply chain situation, commenting that while the supply chain crisis has probably peaked, a lot will remain elevated. Jack Calderon and Chaim Lubin, Lincoln International, also shared that there is a high level of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity with EMS consolidations rising significantly and market values increasing, though market valuations are being challenged under current supply chain conditions and are expected to level off. Additionally, they shared that the “super-cycle” will continue to be a key driver of industry growth and M&A.

Chris Mitchell, IPC’s vice president of global government relations, shared the stage with colleagues Alison James and consultant Jared Weaver of Salt Point Strategies to update the group on the many relevant advocacy initiatives and activities both in the U.S. and globally. Weaver delved into legislative developments around the U.S Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), the CHIPS Act, and the Supporting American Printed Circuit Boards Act.

Mitchell and James covered environment and trade regulations and stressed the importance of knowing European regulatory initiatives, even for those not directly engaged with customers in the EU. Mitchell updated the group on North American-focused activities, including original research like IPC’s recent 2021 North American Advanced Packaging Report and new research on the loss of the PCB industry in the U.S., “Preventing the Loss of Another Key U.S. Industry Requires a Holistic Solution to the Semiconductor Crisis.” Member supporters of IPC advocacy initiatives confirmed IPC’s increasingly influential voice in Washington.  

To read this entire article, which appeared in the Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022 Show & Tell Magazine, click here.

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