Machines such as aircraft, phones and medical devices are made up of dozens of component parts. Every one has its function and must be made in accordance with strict specifications to ensure the safety and efficiency of the end product. But, especially in relatively small production runs, it often makes more financial and practical sense to contract out the production of these individual elements.
Surface Technology International (STI) is a specialist Contract Electronics Manufacturer (CEM) serving customers around the world in a range of industries. The company was set up by its current Managing Director, Simon Best, in 1989, and still operates from its headquarters in Hook in the South East of England.
“Our component parts can be found in satellites flying around in space, in oil rigs miles underground and thousands of products in between,” says Martin Gower-Smith, International Development Manager at STI. “We work in volumes, from a unique one-off to a few thousand units, and offer a complete set of electronics manufacturing services including design, final assembly, test and integration and full lifecycle support.”
Company: Surface Technology International
Industry: Contract Electronics Manufacturer
Target Market: Australia
UKTI Services: Overseas Market Introduction Service
In 2008, STI set up small offices in Hong Kong and China. A frequent user of UKTI’s services, the company worked with UKTI teams both in the UK and in Asia to strengthen its foothold in the region. With support and guidance from UKTI in the Philippines, STI found and bought a second manufacturing facility in Cebu in 2010. A replica of the headquarters in Hook, it employs 200 people servicing customers looking for the combined advantages of competitive pricing and the very best in electronic expertise.
In April 2012, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand signed a free trade agreement lifting earlier restrictions on trade between the countries. STI had long had an interest in the defence sector in Australia, and with a manufacturing base in Asia was in an excellent position to explore this and other sectors further. The company again got UKTI on board early on, and in November 2012 met with a representative from its Australia team in Bristol at Explore Export, to discuss its plans. In May, STI commissioned an OMIS asking UKTI to advise on the best route into the market and to find potential agents.