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Page 20


www.us- tech.com


July, 2020


Part 2: Contract Manufacturing in the Time of COVID-19


By Michael Skinner, Editor A


s we carry on through what ex- perts predict to be the dead- liest phase of the current pan-


demic, contract manufacturers are still scrambling to meet rising de- mand for essential services. In part 2 of our coronavirus coverage and the impact of the virus on EMS provi - ders, several manufacturers shed light on their experiences over the last few months.


Michael Harlow, Vice President, Kodiak Assembly Solutions.


“The COVID-19 pandemic has


thrown us a huge curveball, as it has all businesses in the U.S.,” says Michael Harlow, vice president, Ko- diak Assembly Solutions. “Soon after the ‘shelter in place’ order was an- nounced in Texas, we received letters from several customers (and their at- torneys, in one case) stating that they were Essential Businesses.” Therefore, as part of their supply


chain, that status passed down- stream to Kodiak. The company was reminded that it had a responsibility to continue operations and support their PCB assembly needs. These customers make products for first re- sponders, hospitals, and the oil and gas industry. “As we processed the dramatic


changes that suddenly came about, our focus became how we would be


able to continue operations, while keeping our employees healthy and safe,” says Harlow. “We put togeth- er a plan following the CDC guide- lines with some extra precautions included.” The company started to have


meetings with its employees every few days to inform them of the changes. Kodiak spaced employee workstations appropriately, issued extra masks and


In addition, the company limited


access to its building from visitors and vendors. Anyone coming into the facility must wear a mask, have their temperature checked and use hand sanitizer. “Regarding the supply chain and


materials, we have experienced very few price increases on materials so far,” says Harlow. “The exception to that are masks, gloves and some cleaning supplies, due to the limited supply and high demand of those items.” The company has seen some delays on items coming from China, due to the pandemic, which came on the heels of the Chinese New Year. “Since this situation is unprece-


dented in our lifetime, we feel very for- tunate that we are able to keep our staff employed during this time. We feel comfortable that we are doing the very best we can to keep them safe while at work,” says Harlow. “From a global perspective, we feel confident that the world will come out the other side of this with a new perspective on society in general. As the saying goes, ‘We’re all in this together.’”


gloves and started a twice-daily rou- tine of disinfecting surfaces and appli- ances in the break room and rest- rooms. The company also checked each employee’s temperature daily, with an infrared thermometer.


David Raby, President, STI USA Due to COVID-19, many compa-


nies are cutting back their forecasts and production orders, as well as the demand for analytical and materials analysis work. This is due in part to


companies’ needs to pause and re- assess the current situation. This of- fers the opportunity to see how long and how deep the COVID-19 finan- cial impact will be to each individual company.


“The good thing is there are a lot


of smart people in contract manufac- turing and they will take a hard look at supply chains, inventories and other issues, and we will all figure out how to be better prepared for the next time,” says David Raby, presi- dent, STI USA. STI’s focus has always been to supply the best quality product to its


Continued on next page


See at SEMICON West (Virtual)


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