The Case for Market Diversification

When asked to define his company’s winning corporate strategy, Gregg Mozdy, vice president of business development for Senior Systems Technology, Inc. is quick to respond: “We’re in the business of ensuring that high-cost-of-failure-assemblies don’t fail—it’s really as simple as that.” With mission in mind, the Palmdale, California-based electronic-manufacturing-services (EMS) provider has made it possible for all manner of technological systems to consistently perform at top efficiency. Here, Mozdy shares key strategies that have effectively maintained Senior Systems’ leadership status and, at the same time, bode well for the company’s future success.

It can be a product, which, if it fails, amounts to significant loss of revenue. Or, it could be something like a remotely operated surgical device, which, if it doesn’t function properly, could lead to loss of life. Either way, we meet the client’s need for electronic assemblies that operate as designed without flaws. In all instances, the successful production and operation of what we make is critical.

Bragging Rights

The products and systems Senior Systems Technology manufactured have helped to convert wind-turbine power for use on the grid, enabled remote monitoring of heart patients, and facilitated campus-wide Wi-Fi systems.

One of the most fundamental aspects of our business is to make sure that a customer’s needs fit our capabilities. Promising a potential customer that we can produce a certain assembly that is beyond our technical or manufacturing capabilities is unfair. It only results in an unhappy client walking away at some point and no company can afford to do business that way. For this reason, we not only make absolutely sure that we can fulfill a customer’s orders, but that we can do so to their exact specifications. In the same way, the customer’s business forecasts and philosophy should match our expectations to allow for the most efficient use of our resources. Both parties must be delighted with the partnership.

It is impossible to grow in our industry without a strong degree of diversification. The days of an electronic manufacturer producing assemblies solely for one market, such as defense, are over as a result of ever-changing economic realities. Partly for this reason, we have expanded the markets we serve. This market diversification allows us to weather the storm, say when a state cuts back on funding for electric-vehicle charging stations. Having business in other market segments, such as medical devices or complex industrial assemblies, softens the blow of other weakening markets. The same holds true for our supply-chain sources. Because we have material suppliers from around the globe, we are less vulnerable to disasters in any one region, such as earthquakes or tsunamis.

State-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, lean manufacturing techniques, and visual factory execution keep Senior Systems at the forefront of complex assembly.

Because markets are always changing, we’re focused on providing flexible engineering and manufacturing resources to our customers. This is perhaps most evident when we conduct design for manufacturing (DFM) ability analyses. For instance, a client recently asked us to examine whether it would be economically feasible to include an additional connector on their printed circuit board assembly (PCBA)—the type used in many computers. We determined that, given its location on the board, the connector would have to be manually inserted and hand soldered—something that was not cost effective in terms of its manufacture. By suggesting that the connector be moved further in on the board, we were able to realize considerable production savings for the client through automating that operation. Such recommendations have enabled us to effectively meet the dynamic realities of our industry.

We are also perfectly positioned regarding size. Unlike smaller firms, we have the material resources for most projects. At the same time, we’re flexible enough to quickly change course on work orders, if necessary—something that is difficult for larger firms.

Senior Systems' best-in-class operations include sophisticated conformal coating techniques of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs).

Manufacturing is often associated with automation. In China, for instance, labor resources are frequently interchangeable—workers are taught a set of simple tasks—a rapid process that allows for inexpensive changeover between jobs. That may be fine for the assembly of relatively simple, consumer-oriented merchandise. However, to bring more complex systems to market, such as sophisticated surgical equipment, you need highly trained laborers with precise, proven skills. This is why we invest a great deal in recruiting and retaining the best-of-the-best production talent. Our operation, employee programs, benefits, and compensation are all geared toward creating a great place to work—we want our employees to stay and grow with us.

Adding capital equipment that can serve a variety of manufacturing purposes, acquiring companies that can build upon our expertise and endeavoring to staying ahead of technological trends—all of this is integral to our forward-thinking corporate strategy. By continuing to be nimble and making pragmatic, intelligent decisions, I’m confident that we will remain well positioned for the future.