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Axiom Manufacturing Services I Interview

but we also have pressures from competition from lower cost manufacturing regions. It is what it is, so from our perspective we address those challenges by driving smarter more agile supply chains, investing in capability and skills that not only complement our core EMS offering but provide us a competitive advantage and differentiator allowing us, hopefully, to stay ahead of that cost curve.

NT: What new capabilities or investments have you made or plan to make in the coming months?

PM: As I mentioned earlier, it’s about ‘smart investment’. Understanding our customers manufacturing and technology road-maps is critical to ensuring that any investments are aligned to support those future needs and growth plans. Over the last 18 months we have invested some £1.6m in people, equipment and capabilities that deliver a competitive advantage and differentiate Axiom from competitors. This includes significant investment in both our design services and RF test development teams. Axiom is investing significantly in its design services and its staff.

NT: Are you taking on new staff or looking to raise the productivity of those you already have?

PM: One goes hand in hand with the other. We have already discussed the fact that we operate in a very competitive market place. We constantly look to improve our productivity through

impact our productivity), we’ve taken on three new apprentices, and two graduates, all of whom bring about fresh ideas and youthful enthusiasm to

productivity as well as allowing us to compete. There is an underlying challenge for the industry to produce skilled engineers of

innovation, investment and best practices. A good example of this would be our recent re-assessment to SC21 Silver. In the year since our initial accreditation we have continued to refine and develop the tools and processes utilised to further improve our productivity and overall business metrics. In addition to the investment made in our Test Development and Design Services teams who support our DFM & DFM programs (both of which

complement the experience of the existing workforce.

NT: In terms of developing advanced engineering skills what contribution can CEMs make and what are the important skills that need to be developed?

PM: Having a highly skilled and flexible workforce is essential to our business

the future and attract qualified workers in other disciplines. With a shortage of employees in manufacturing, and as a big employer in the South Wales area, we see the importance of trying to close this skilled-labour gap. It is imperative that CEMs do more to support and engage with our local colleges and higher education institutions.

Axiom has been working closely with our local FE college in the hope of fostering the next generation of high-tech manufacturers and engineers, as a result, we now have six apprentices. By attracting more of the brightest students to study engineering at university, they will be better prepared for a vibrant and innovative electronics career that will help maintain the growth and stability of the industry. Success comes when we nurture talent at the grassroots level. The UK electronics sector is among the best in the world, but we need to attract the students back into the courses if it is to remain successful.

It is not only skilled engineers that are needed, the term ‘manufacturing’ encompasses many skills e.g. sales, purchasing, logistics, software development, IT, finance etc. Many people fail to consider these disciplines when they think of a career in ‘manufacturing’; meaning there is an image problem that the government needs to help address. The manufacturing industry and its long- term sustainability is dependent on attracting high calibre, innovative and creative students, and unfortunately there is a current shortage applying for work within it. ■

Components in Electronics

December 2013/January 2014 29

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