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They work while you sleep? That's just one of the benefits of outsourcing design work to a company like India-based Entelechy Global. I met with Mehul Dave and H.D. Shreenivasa to discuss the many ways Entelechy helps their customers worldwide and why outsourcing should not be thought of as a four-letter word.
Barry Matties: Why don't you start by telling me a little bit about the organization and what you do?
Mehul Dave: We basically do CAM outsourcing for our customers mainly in the U.S. and Europe. We have a team of very experienced guys in India who have been doing this for more than 20 years, and we offer value to our customers in these regions of the world where it's at times difficult to get qualified people and it’s certainly expensive.
Matties: Is the idea that a fabricator gets the files and, instead of doing the processing themselves, they send it to you because they find it more cost-effective?
Dave: One of the issues in the U.S. and Europe is that more people are doing more parts. The volume production is elsewhere and so the fabricators in U.S. and Europe are doing a larger volume of part numbers, and that puts a higher burden on the front end. That's where we come in. We help with that capacity.
Matties: So somebody with a heavy mix is a great candidate?
Dave: Yes, we find that for a lot of our customers when they first got started with a new CAM system, they implemented some form of automation—they set up their systems and years have gone by and nobody looks at them. We come in and help them re-automate their process because we firmly believe in automation. That's one of our core strengths of the folks that we have. H.D., for example, has done a lot of automation in the UCAM world with their hypertool capability.
Matties: You go to your customers’ facilities and help them automate their processes?
Dave: Yes, the typical engagement is that we'll come on-site, learn the process, and figure out what their environment is. We become an extended part of the team. They feel comfortable sending the work to us. This is our typical way of working. We also do some on-demand work on an hourly basis or a job-by-job basis, so we're very flexible.
Matties: When you do it on a job-by-job basis, do you find that they convert to contract customers?
Dave: Yes, eventually they will because they start to see the value in what we can offer them over time.
Matties: So part of the value is they don't have to staff. What are some of the other benefits that they reap from this?
Dave: Actually, the time difference helps us because the U.S. night time is our daytime, and it’s pretty much the same in Europe. It's very hard to staff second and third shift engineers for them. At the end of their day, they'll send us work when it's our daytime. We'll do the work and by the time they come back in the morning, their jobs will be ready to go. That's a big benefit that they have. I think we provide better value, in terms of not only cost, but the overall quality and delivery models that we have.
Matties: I think with your focus just being on this one area, and because you're experts, you're going to see things that they may not see because they're distracted with other noise in their business.
Dave: Exactly. This is our focus. This is all we do, so we’ve become very good at it. We keep building better processes around it.
Matties: H.D., what's your role in all of this?
H.D. Shreenivasa: Basically, I manage the technical aspect of this business, so I'm a director for technical engineering services and IT. My role is to coordinate with the customers, go on-site and acquire the knowledge of their facility and their requirements; then, I come back to India and find the people over there and start working with them.
Matties: What size is your staff in India?
Shreenivasa: We have around 30 people right now.
Matties: How many years have you been in business?
Dave: Entelechy has been in business two years. The team that is working in India has been together for more than 10 years.
Shreenivasa: Most of the staff has rich experience in the PCB industry. They're all from big manufacturers, like AT&S, so most of the staff is very experienced.
Matties: When the files come in, you guys must see a lot of things that you would do differently from a design point of view. How do you transmit that information back for the designers, or do you?
Shreenivasa: Basically, when our customer sends files to us, we do complete design rule checks and design for manufacturability. We totally check the entire data and list the requirements.
Matties: I'm curious, at the first step, how good are the designs coming in?
Dave: Sometimes some are pretty poor… But we have very little influence over our customers’ customers.
Matties: I understand. Do you send feedback to them or does it even matter? My train of thought is you're going to give your customers feedback and then they look like heroes going back to their customers and saying, "Here's how you can improve.” And this might be part of the value that you're bringing.
Dave: To me that’s Utopia, because I find our customers will just take whatever jobs they can get. At times they're trying to educate their customers, but I don't think it's happening as much as it should, in my opinion. Everybody's hungry to get work.