Comparing Top 50 Lists

John Tuck has issued his annual list of the top 50 EMS companies.

Years (and years) ago, Tuck, for those who are newer to the industry, was editor of Circuits Manufacturing, the predecessor to CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY, and was one the gold standard for technical editing.

I’ve taken a look at his list, and, like last year, found a few discrepancies. For instance, it would appear John is using aggregate company revenue, instead of parsing the financial reports to separate now-EMS sales.

Compared with the CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY Top 50, the top 10 are identical, save for no. 7 and 8. John flip-flops Venture and Elcoteq, which could be due to variations in currency conversion (Venture is Singaporean, Elcoteq is nominally based in Luxembourg).

Like last year, John inflates the position of Universal Scientific, ranking it tenth even though a majority of the firm’s sales come from OEM products, not EMS. Once those non-EMS revenues are subtracted, CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY dropped USI to 18th.

Kudos, however, for finding Japan’s Sumitronics, the offshoot of materials conglomerate Sumitomo. Same goes for Topscom of Hong Kong, which had 2009 sales of $300 million. I’ve never heard of SRI Radio Systems of Durach, Germany. Back to the Internet for me.)

That said, John misses on some biggies. Absent from his list is Team Precision, which had EMS sales of $446 million last year. Ditto Computime (2009 sales: $288 million) and Victron ($250 million).

And Hitachi Computer Products, which ceased EMS operations last month, should have easily made the list.

Military electronics manufacturer DRS Technologies is a consistent placer on the MMI Top 50, although I’ll be cussed if I can figure out whether they actually do EMS work in the traditional sense, or are more like an OEM with a very particular niche.

One oddity: Despite estimated sales of $445 million, France’s Eolane is no. 48. I reckon that’s because John misread the company’s first-half financial statement, mistaking it for a final-year report. (Just a guess.)

Also, Wong’s Electronics and WKK Technology are broken out on the MMI list, although they actually are the same company.

Despite the occasional variation, I love reading John’s work, and always look forward to his list.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow