ÄRIPÄEV INTERVIEWING GREG GRACE: ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY AND TRENDS IN 2021 AND THE FUTURE FOR 2022
Managing Director of Incap Estonia, Greg Grace, was interviewed by Estonian leading newspaper Äripäev in their radio show “Industry news”, discussing the industry and trends in 2021 and the future for 2022. Read further to find out more about the interview!
Greg started working at Incap as a Managing Director exactly two years ago, which happened also to be the most difficult time – a corona pandemic started to spread in the world. In the interview, he shares his thoughts on the crisis in supply chains and raw materials, but also about the workforce and talks about what this period has taught him and his team. In the second half of the interview, Greg discusses what the future brings to the industrial sector in 2022. Below you will find some insights of the topics that were discussed in the interview (translated from Estonian).
HOW WOULD YOU, AS YOUR MANAGER, MAKE A SUMMARY OF THE LAST YEAR?
“For the last two years I’ve been running Incap Estonia and it’s been a real challenge. I started in January 2020 and then in March covid came, and continued in 2021. But I am very pleased with last year’s results and we have had to adapt. We also had to go through various other problems that came with this pandemic, such as the material crisis. I am very pleased with how this year ended, but we had to work hard with our team. So I have to start by saying how grateful I am for my team.”
WHAT WERE THE MAIN PARTS WHERE YOU HAD TO WORK THE HARDEST TO RESIST THE CRISIS?
“During the pandemic there was a moment where we had to set some rules. There were easier times and harder times over the year. It was important to keep our factory working and our workers and guests healthy. We set up a McKenzie 5R plan to survive this crisis. But the material was our biggest problem – the security of the material supply. It was very difficult to plan accordingly.”
WHAT ABOUT THE MATERIALS? HOW STRESSFUL WERE THE INCREASING PRICES?
“I’ve worked in the electronics industry for five years, but I’ve realised it happens every 5 or 6 years. This is not the first time and it will happen again. Our old customers are aware of this. We foresaw it and we tried everything to create buffers. We saw this as an opportunity to develop a new component design, so we could produce an alternative to the components when needed. But there was a possibility that brokers would offer the same components at a higher price.
In my opinion, the worst example in Incap was when one component previously cost 2 euros and then suddenly you could buy it for 200 euros. If you buy 100 components, that would be okay, but if you need to buy 100,000, it’s very expensive. It also depends on the price of the end product. These are not the worst prices we have seen. There are very scary prices currently available.”
FROM WHERE DOES INCAP BRING MOST OF THE COMPONENTS?
“Mainly from Asia. We actually buy components through Estonian companies. The Estonian branches are our biggest suppliers, but they are bought from Asia and America. There aren’t many components coming from China anymore. But there are still a lot of components that come from Asia. Many factories have moved out of China and started producing components elsewhere (e.g. Malaysia or Taiwan).”
HOW WAS THE LABOUR SITUATION IN SAAREMAA LAST YEAR AND WHAT WILL IT LOOK LIKE THIS YEAR?
We still need employees. We are currently looking for eight employees, so if anyone is interested, please send us your CV. Since we are an outsourcing factory, sometimes the demand is high and then it drops. We had 9 trainees last summer. I’m so glad that two of them joined our team full time. We also had 5 or 6 summer workers and now in the winter we also have a temporary workforce – 7 employees. Since the material did not come on time and started arriving only at the end of the year, we added a third shift in November. We have room for growth and new employees are still needed as the material arrives.
Listen to the interview here (in Estonian):