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For Kimball Electronics Group and Customers: It's about Location, Location, Location
Feb 19, 2013

Kimball Electronics – Poland, located in Poznan, has very recently been awarded significant multi-year multi-million dollar contracts from several of Kimball Electronics worldwide customers, not only in the Medical market, but additional business in the Industrial and Automotive segments as well. The new multi- year, multi-million dollar contracts include manufacturing of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) for electronics in medical devices, vehicle electronic systems, and industrial controls.

tom_ferrisTom Ferris, Director of Business Development for Medical Solutions for Kimball Electronics, was a recent contributor to the current issue of the magazine European Medical Device Technology (EMDT). Tom's featured article recently published in EMDT, "Eastern Europe: A Mosaic of Outsourcing Opportunities", explains why Kimball Electronics chose to locate our facility in Poland, rather than in one of the EMS giants in the region, and how that benefits our customers.

In his article, Tom outlined factors selecting the right electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider, criteria beyond contractor capabilities that should be evaluated. Factors to consider include economic trends in the region, workforce availability, education, turnover and logistics. Highlights of the article include:

Economic Trends

emdt_magazine_coverKimball Electronics chose Poland and established its initial operation in Poznan in 2000. Although both Hungary and the Czech Republic were the more popular choices for EMS providers at that time, Poland has turned out to be a better long-term choice. The region has seen positive economic growth over the last decade. From an economic and business perspective, there are no barriers: there is still substantial growth potential without significant inflationary pressures.

Workforce Availability, Education, Turnover

At first, converting the workforce from a group focused on meeting the needs of a single company (OEM) in a single industry to running a mix of projects for multiple companies over multiple industries was a training challenge. To meet this challenge, Kimball Electronics created a new program that includes a core group of employees called multi-operators. When demand varies, employees can be shifted between production lines. To qualify as a multi-operator, the person must be trained and certified for 60% of the job stations within the production area. Turnover is one of the key measures used to track the success of employee development programs. From a voluntary turnover perspective, Kimball's Poland facility has averaged less than 1% turnover per month during the past year, in spite of the fact that the company relocated operations to a new facility, thereby lengthening commute times. Management tenure in the facility averages 10 years.

Logistics

Kimball's choice of Poznan, Poland, offered significant advantages from a logistics standpoint. Poland is part of the European Union, so there is no barrier to market entry. From a logistics perspective, the facility is located 130 km from Gdansk, which is Poland's largest port. Export to Hamburg is also easy. Munich and Frankfurt have direct links. Many customers have distribution centers in Germany and transport time to these centers is less than 24 hours.

Putting It All Together

Eastern Europe offers a variety of EMS options. Selecting the right one requires careful evaluation of contractor capabilities as well as the alignment of a country and labor market with a project's long-term needs. Kimball Electronics – Poland is the best choice with the right solution that meets all criteria for your EMS needs!

You can read the full article here: "Eastern Europe: A Mosaic of Outsourcing Opportunities", by Tom Ferris, Director of Business Development for Medical Solutions for Kimball Electronics