It is true that, to be successful, a company¡®s business strategy must be tailored specifically for its own individual internal and external environments, it is also essential that PCB manufacturers find a way to cope with the factors that are common to them all. These are:
- Competitive situation
- Core competencies of all market players
- Distribution of PCB manufacturers and their customers
- Dominating technologies
- Applications and application-specific customer needs
In looking at these parameters, the future of the PCB sector is likely to comprise some or all of the following scenarios:
Mergers and new competitors
The mergers between PCB manufacturers which we have seen in recent years will increase. But there also will be increasing vertical integration, driven mainly by big EMSproviders. Many years ago they were small "board stuffers", then they became contract manufacturers. Now they offer a full range of manufacturing services, from design to final assembly, and revenues have grown accordingly.
The risk for such globalEMSproviders is high, but their constitution also poses major risks for PCB manufacturers, for two reasons:
First, the PCB manufacturer's customer base, once made up of numerous OEMs, is now increasingly dominated by EMS providers who, unlike OEMs, tend not to see the value in PCBs, viewing them as nothing more than "big components", so a PCB maker will not be viewed as partnership material.
Second,EMSproviders are extending their value chains in both directions.
PCB manufacturers are also thinking about extending their value chains. In principal, the idea is good, but it is not without its challenges. In expanding the chain to include pre-production services, PCB manufacturers, for example, move into a competitive arena that is already populated by some bigEMSproviders such as Sanmina and Vogt.
Global player or specialist
Only two types of PCB manufacturer will survive: specialists and global players; specialists focusing regionally, or on customer segments, applications or technology. Once a company has decided which it will be, it must implement its strategy quickly and decisively ' PCB manufacturers without a clear strategy and positioning will eventually disappear from the market.