While many companies are struggling to survive during the pandemic, according to Greg Grace, Managing Director of Incap Estonia, the electronics industry has somewhat benefited from the crisis. Read more from his interview with the local Saaremaa newspaper Meie Maa.
LOOKING BACK AT 2021
“We must acknowledge that the production volumes of the electronics industry in Estonia have indeed increased during the pandemic,” said Grace. He added that although the changes in the market for electronics manufacturing services started earlier, the corona pandemic intensified them. “More and more production is being brought from China back to Europe. The speed of production, shorter supply chains, and bringing production closer to product development and the end user, are important to customers.”
As Incap is a public company, it’s not possible to publish the company’s financial results before their official disclosure, but already last year Incap Corporation issued a positive forecast for the results of 2021 for the entire group.
HOW WE SURVIVED THE CRISIS
During the emergency in spring of 2020, the whole Incap group put together a very comprehensive contingency plan, starting from how to put out urgent fires to how to solve current problems and prepare for a new normality.
“To this day, we have delivered according to this plan and have also survived the inconveniences caused by it,” said Grace, admitting that the biggest challenge at the Kuressaare factory has been the supply of materials. “Both delivery times and prices have been constantly unstable.
NEW PROBLEMS HAVE ARISEN
In the meantime, new challenges have emerged, such as the energy crisis in China and soaring energy prices. We have addressed them by redesigning our forecasts and working even more closely with both suppliers and customers to find the best solutions to mitigate the risks.”
“In addition to the corona crisis, the most significant problem in the next two years will certainly be the availability of components on the market. All manufacturers are probably still looking for solutions and alternatives for that. At the same time, it can be seen that in the long run, the market will continue to grow. The demand for solutions in the electronics sector continues to grow and affect the Kuressaare factory, whether the focus is on medical devices or new IoT ecosystems”, said Grace.
ENCOURAGING YOUTH TO CONSIDER THE ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY AS A CAREER CHOICE
Although many operations in the factory are automated, there is still a great need for specialists in Kuressaare, as well as in Estonia and around the world. According to Grace, each company must make a significant contribution to training specialists to make the electronics industry an attractive career choice for young people.
Grace is encouraging future graduates to consider electronics. “The electronics industry is on the top level in Estonia today and young people should be encouraged to consider the electronics sector. Our achievements, such as the electronics that were made in Kuressaare for NASA’s mission, have an international reputation. To serve high-quality international and local customers at the highest level, we have created a modern and innovative environment right here in Saaremaa,” said Grace.
INVESTING FOR THE FUTURE
To meet the increasingly demanding needs of customers and to increase Incap’s competitive advantage, a new wave soldering machine and selective soldering machine were acquired at the factory last November.
At the grand opening of the state-of-the-art equipment, Grace said that in addition to the equipment, Incap is investing into the development of its team and working environment. Over the past two years, Incap Estonia has invested in new equipment as well as in the renewal of the working environment.
Greg Grace confirmed that the factory will continue to be supplemented with new investments and said that the Kuressaare factory is not planning to expand at the moment. “The part of the factory that stood empty a few years ago is now full of materials and custom work. The demand for solutions in the electronics sector is growing and this will also affect the operations of the Kuressaare factory,” said Greg Grace, head of Incap Estonia.
Read the article here (in Estonian):