What do you see as the big issue for 2019?
2018 was a big year for many entities in the industry. Sooner or later the growth will plateau and the issues will come in pacing the expectations and planning accordingly. Some may be overzealous in planning. On the other hand, some of the acquisitions and joint ventures from 2018 will allow more buying power for this and the coming years. Secondly, there seems to be a shortage of engineers, but we should be asking if there is truly a shortage of designers or rather a shortage in productivity. The demographic changes in the field will result in more bodies being needed to accomplish the same amount of work. I see a major disconnect between managers and their departments and while autonomy is nice, there are often gaps in the diligence of completing necessary tasks. Unless teams find more synergy, this will continue to erode productivity and hence profitability. Lastly our political climate means both designers and supply chain are being forced to get creative and pay more attention to how and where their components are sourced. And we thought country of origin was only important for coffee beans!?
What do you see on the horizon?
In the local market I foresee continued growth in both medical and industrial sectors. Renewable energy, particularly in the form of solar and wind, will be hot markets to watch along with healthcare. It's an exciting time. Acquisitions, mergers, and crowd-funded startups color our business culture and keep us chasing the next big thing. Social media and IoT mean business moves faster than ever and the early bird often times gets the worm. Loyalty has been reduced to merely a number which gets you a free cup at the local coffee shop every so often. My hope is that this industry remembers to foster a code of ethics from days gone by where a handshake actually represents an agreement and where healthcare companies find a way to place higher emphasis on the care of human health than on their bank account.
Amy Currence is the local area sales manager for Wurth Electronics and specializes in bridging the gap between product design and supply chain. As a direct sales representative for a major component manufacturer, she knows the importance of not only having readily available parts for the R&D and prototype phases, but also production planning for volume order fulfillment. Amy regularly facilitates communication between design teams and global supply chain teams to ensure smooth transitions throughout a product's life cycle.
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