Step into 2022 and Make It Proactive

By Simon Broomhead, Commercial Director.

As we move from one year into the next, one often reflects on the year gone by, whilst setting an agenda for the new year to come.

This is the case for UK Electronics Manufacturing Service Provider (EMS), Active EMS (, who have exited 2021 and, like many of us, are reflecting on it as a year like no other.

2021 Reflection

In 2021, Active EMS became strategically aware of the company’s position and opportunities for change.  Change is often a word that people fear, however, COVID-19, supply chain challenges, and resource shortages mean that many companies are facing 2022 with the objective to change to meet their plan for continuous improvement.

“It is our basic job to have the nerve to keep changing and changing and changing again.”

Sir Peter Parker, British Businessman and Chairman

Nobodies’ crystal ball predicted COVID-19 and the aspects of business that it would impact.  2020 highlighted areas that Active EMS could strengthen, therefore as the company entered 2021, policies, procedures, and tools were put in place to improve supplier relations and communications.  As a result of laying these foundations, and as supply chain shortages started to take their grip on the entire electronics manufacturing industry, Active EMS was in a good position to leverage off its improved stance.  Weekly conference calls were in place, taking advantage of recently implemented platforms such as Teams and Zoom to facilitate efficiency gains, but also to ensure all parties within the supply chain, from the Original Component Manufacturer (OCM) to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), to Active EMS (EMS, to their distribution and logistics partners, were together to ensure a clear and consistent message was communicated.  These simple, yet highly effective steps gave Active EMS the competitive edge. The company’s transparent efforts to keep all parties along the production lifecycle educated and informed were recognised and rewarded.

Professor Chris Harrison, Technical Director, comments; “Since our formation in 2012, we have remained transparent with our customers and have attempted to make clear the nuances of the supply chain, our methods of supply chain management, and project control.

Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. Thus, with the support of our customers, by way of long-term commitment to their purchase orders, we can continue to plan far beyond the end of the current manufacturing year, minimising any surprises. Of course, the ability to be able to be flexible is critical, as forecasts can and do fluctuate.  During the last 12-months, we’ve seen many of our customers pull forward their production schedules, due to increased demand.  It is, therefore, our role to ensure that the supply chain to support this need, with procurement of component parts, is in place and our operational schedule is organised.”

Another disruptive trend in the electronics industry brought to the fore was labour shortages and the availability of relevant skills in the recruitment pool.  The skills gap shortage has been discussed for several years, with an ageing workforce, the lack of succession planning, and STEM being hot topics around the boardroom, but now was the time to act.  As a result, during 2021, Active EMS has strengthened its internal training policies, so that promotion comes from within, whenever possible. The company has also utilised various schemes open to them as a nurturing employer within Manchester, UK, for example, the ‘Kickstarter’ programme.  This has enabled Active EMS to gain access to a support network to seek staff who are enthusiastic to work but may have got lost in the system and overlooked in the past.  Active EMS has made it a business objective to be an equal opportunities employer and to give people a chance when society maybe hasn’t.

2022 Outlook

So, whilst other EMS companies have felt challenged in the areas of supply chain communications and resources, at Active EMS, the steps that were taken during 2021 have laid a positive foundation as the company steps into 2022.

COVID-19 did however highlight the need to do things differently and did of course have a ripple effect and a detrimental impact on the ecosystem. The strategic challenge now is to find ways of adding new values distinctively.

It is clear that the manufacturing ethos is one of total flexibility, and Active EMS continues to demonstrate its ability to rapidly flex and adapt as required, enabling the company to satisfy the wants of its customers effectively and efficiently.

As we enter 2022, areas that will continue to be key will be active supply chain management and relentless Bill of Materials (BOM) administration, with alternative components and suppler selection vital to the lifeblood for growth and development.  Only partnering with those who hold the same values, culture, and company ethos is key to Active EMS who only want to support their customer base by doing business with the like-minded.

About Active EMS

A dedicated Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) company offering bespoke solutions to customers with individual needs.

Strategically located in Manchester, recognised for its industrial prowess, we are an integrated manufacturing provider that enables partners to grow by offering in-house prototyping, Design for Manufacture (DFM), manufacturing, logistics capabilities, resources, and our very own people power.

We work across all industry segments, from automotive to medical to infrastructure, and beyond. Active EMS provides every market with a robust supply chain solution from handheld to massive electromechanical products.

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