Upcoming Reports Highlighted on TFI Conference Call


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ALAMEDA, Calif. Bruce Rayner, director of research and consulting, Technology Forecasters Inc. (TFI), held a conference call June 22nd detailing some key projects in the works at TFI. Members on the call expressed a desire for TFI to deliver the "highest value for time at the forum, in terms of research reports, as well as other opportunities including guest speakers, discussion topics, and networking opportunities." Rayner, who joined TFI a month ago, has worked in the publishing and editorial fields for about 20 years and cited his various offices for giving him "broad experience covering electronics."

Rayner gave brief accounts on four topics being covered for the Q3 quarterly forum research reports, including their "hallmark" five year forecast, created by Matt Shanoff. Several topics reflected changing industry dynamics. "Because of the shift in the type of work being done in Mexico over the decade," TFI finds "indications that business is returning to Mexico from Asia," and will present research from across supply and value chains, including recommendations. A report on estimates beyond current PCB opportunities, will include case studies, activities in design, and OEM/EMS partnerships. An environmental compliance report will "update the industry on the best ways to meet the environmental regulations, and also the most profitable ways," says Rayner.

Rayner discussed Q4 reports as well, noting that TFI prefers "to take 3 or 4 months for research" before release. Issues currently under scrutiny include logistics, because "logistics is becoming critical in determining the total cost of outsourcing, as well as total cost of ownership," he adds. Due to the rise in transportation costs from oil price increases, Rayner saw the report as a timely and useful resource. India's emergence as a market for OEMs, as well as its status as a developing site for manufacturing and distribution, will be highlighted in a Q4 report on the country.

Rayner mentioned analysis of the ODM market, including "definitions of ODMs versus EMSs, an anticipated convergence of their business models, and the overlap of services offered by each." The last report Rayner discussed deals with lean manufacturing and supply chain. TFI plans to discuss "lean" when implemented in manufacturing, and options for extending it into supply chains. "Key issues through the supply base" was a major consideration, explained Rayner.

Rayner drew attention to two large scale additions to TFI's standard reports. The company is developing a new program named TFI Research Alert wherein researchers will draw insights from recent reports and discuss findings of key interest with a short analysis. TFI refers to this program as a "heads-up on something they find in the market." Rayner gave the example of a recent report that highlighted pricing pressures betweenOEM and EMS providers. TFI is investigating a lessening of pricing pressures from OEMs, which will be reported in a research alert. At a recent forum in San Diego, TFIdiscussed providing more regular statistics and metrics, including bookings, billings, shipments, and orders on monthly or quarterly basis to help analyze market conditions. These projects would complement the annual analysis.

TFI's Q3 Quarterly Forum, on September 14, 2006, will be held in Boston and the Q4 forum will be in San Jose in Silicon Valley. In March, the Q1 2007 forum will be held in Mexico. June's Q2 forum will take place in Chicago. The Q3 may be in China, in conjunction with a North American event. Members on the conference call considered China preferable to India from an electronics standpoint, since India is more software-related. They also believe the different mix of attendees in China would benefit the forum. TFI changed their membership logistics so that anyone from a member corporation may join and access data on the website, as well as attend a quarterly forum event. For more information click here or view our Events.

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