Incorporated in 1985, Cal-Chip was the first company to specialize in surface-mounted passive components when global usage was about three percent of overall passive component consumption.
Cal-Chip began with the sole purpose of supplying the various types of passive components used in high-tech electronics manufacturing. The company helped to develop a group of the best suppliers at the time and began to import components for the domestic market.
I founded the company in my small home office with only a phone. The company has since grown to become a global distributor that supplies major worldwide electronics contract manufacturers. In the early days, the fax machine had not yet been invented so we had to rely on a telex machine to communicate with Asia and Europe. Many times the information would get scrambled and it could take several days to correct messages about product shipped and all kinds of other information necessary to run the business.
Later, Cal-Chip acquired a capacitor manufacturing company in Europe and started to make specialty components, including high-voltage capacitors. As the company watched the emergence of the contract manufacturer, manufacturing began to leave the U.S. for Mexico, China and India. The company shifted its strategy from supplying domestic manufacturers to a more global approach.
Cal-Chip is marketed through franchised and authorized distributors, representatives and its own direct sales team. The company has made an effort to keep its fingers on the pulse of the industry and worked hard to prepare for the passive component shortage that all areas of component supply are experiencing currently. It built up a substantially large inventory and has its entire catalog of components in the pipeline to aid its customers.
In 1987, I started SMD, Inc. This company has also grown and is among the top 25 electronic components and value-added distributors in North America, supplying both CMs and OEMs. The company is a fully authorized stocking distributor with locations in strategic marketplaces around the U.S.
The company has 80 suppliers and serves the automotive, energy and industrial power and military markets. It has grown at a rapid rate and has one of the highest service ratings in the industry.
In 1986, Emcon split from Kyocera and closed its capacitor manufacturing operation. An associate and I purchased several million dollars of capacitor manufacturing equipment at auction for only $25,000. We then sent it to a friend in Fuzhou, China, and he set up the first capacitor manufacturing plant there, making multilayer leaded ceramic capacitors. The company is still in existence today. I also opened the first distributorship in Singapore that same year, with a branch office in Thailand.
With some of the major manufacturers, we run into the company store concept that several of the larger distributors have pushed. The best way to describe market conditions now is that these stores look like a popular supermarket the day before a major snowstorm, with empty shelves and upset customers. Our shelves at Cal-Chip and SMD are well-stocked with many allocated passive components and most of our customers are smiling.