Beating the Supply Chain Challenge


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In an interview with SMT Magazine, SMTC’s Seth Choi, vice president of global supply chain management and procurement, discusses how the supply chain has evolved over the past few years; the role of a supply chain manager in an EMS company; how SMTC is lowering their procurement costs; and what strategies they’ve set up in place to ensure the integrity and security of their manufacturing value chain.

EMS provider SMTC Corp. has been in operation since 1985. The company is based in Canada, with additional operations in San Jose, California; El Paso, Texas; Mexico; and China, in Dongguan, Suzhou and Hong Kong. SMTC is a truly global enterprise, and as such, one with complex supply chain issues and challenges.

Choi himself is responsible for strategic sourcing, pricing, assurance of quality, speed-to-market, and the continuity of supply in order to support global SMTC procurement strategies.

Richard Ayes: What are your top supply chain challenges?

Seth Choi: I would have to characterize managing customer controlled suppliers that have one or both of the following conditions as being the single greatest challenge for us. Those conditions are, first, parts with a single source where an alternative supplier has not been designed in, and second, where these suppliers have quality issues. These two factors go hand-in-hand. While the majority of our customers have a good handle on their suppliers, we do run into isolated cases where some of these suppliers consistently fail to deliver quality parts or miss the delivery date.

Production delays due to design issues also remain a problem. This is more common for startups that have an aggressive schedule for time-to-market, where their product has not had enough time to mature. Some raw material suppliers also have difficulties bringing their supply chain up to speed. This in turn would affect our ability to ramp in a timely manner.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of SMT Magazine.

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