The evolution of the EMS company as a “brand” is nearly complete.
Since a group of industry folks (including our columnist Sue Mucha) came up with the term at an industry meeting more than 25 years ago, the once common jargon of “board stuffers” has been vacated. In its place, the industry substituted CEM (contract electronics manufacturer) or EMS (electronics manufacturing services). Contract assembler, while still commonplace in conversation, is less preferred in writing, especially on corporate websites.
Now, the self-branding of EMS companies has taken over. No longer content with being grouped as an industry, EMS firms are taking matters into their own hands, outsourcing (get it?) their marketing to high-profile branding firms and adding a heavy dose of pizzazz along the way.
One well-known makeover is the company formerly known as Flextronics. Its style experts gave a haircut to its name (“Flex”), and added a sleek tagline: From Sketch to Scale.
Not to be outdone, Jabil is “A Trusted Product Solutions Partner+.” I’m not sure what the “+” means, exactly, but maybe it has something to do with Jabil’s alternate slogan: “Empowering Brands / Empowering the World.” That sounds exhausting.
Asia is getting in on the act. Wistron will serve you “Cradle to Cradle.” (That refers to the lifespan of electronics, but if my kids’ habits are any indicator, it could extend much further.)
Compal‘s catchphrase leans toward the esoteric: “From Vision to Reality.” If that’s too vague, the rest of it (“Innovation Empowered”) won’t help.
Tier 2 companies are also jumping on the bandwagon. Neways is now “Your EMS Lifecycle Partner.”
Of course, not every firm has caught the branding wave. For instance, AsteelFlash is Electronics Manufacturing Services, Mastered,” while NeoTech is taking a more traditional approach with its slogan, “Providing Electronics Manufacturing Services That Deliver Value.” Someone better clue them in, stat.