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Conversations with...UniGlobal
Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management

The Taiwanese company UniGlobal Inc. is successfully doing what other Asian PCB manufacturers continue to struggle with. They direct sell rigid, flex and rigid-flex boards to North American customers--no middlemen, no brokers. 

I recently sat down with John Holmberg, director of sales and marketing for North America, to discuss UniGlobal’s unique business approach. As I soon discovered, with UniGlobal, the future is now!

DAN BEAULIEU: Good morning, John. Thanks for sitting down with me today. So as we begin our discussion on UniGlobal, it is worth noting that you were a part of this business from the very beginning.

JOHN HOLMBERG: Hi Dan. Yes, I was a part of the original Orient Express

group, which was a part of Advanced Circuits at that time--the original Advanced Circuits in Minnesota. The Orient Express is what UniGlobal eventually grew from. We were a gateway group to working in Asia in the early 1990s, when manufacturing was just beginning to move offshore.

DAN: So, you’ve been involved in UniGlobal since its inception. How long have you been in the industry?

JOHN: I’ve been in and around this industry since 1965, Dan. It’s been awhile. I’ve seen a lot.

DAN: Then you really are an industry pioneer of sorts.

JOHN: Well, when the Orient Express was initiated in the late 1990s, the idea of going overseas to Asia for manufacturing was fresh. As I mentioned, we were meant to be a gateway group to working and manufacturing in Asia. Things progressed quickly from there. In the later ‘90s we opened up strategic locations in Malaysia, Shanghai and Shenzhen, and then in Ireland for direct access to the European market. In early 2000, we built our own PCB factory (UniGlobal) and our own construction company to help facilitate continued operations under our parent corporation, Global Service Group (GSG).

DAN: That is a lot of growth.

JOHN: Yes, and a lot of hard work. Here we are a couple of decades later. I look at how our company has evolved and how the global business landscape has changed for manufacturing as a whole during that time. I am very proud of our progressive vision and forbearance, and I am proud of what UniGlobal has become.

DAN: I know that you are very involved with UniGlobal’s customers, and it speaks to the direct relationship that North American customers have with UniGlobal, which is pretty unique among Asian manufacturers serving this market. Comment on that aspect of your business.

JOHN: Our customers know that I have a direct line right into UniGlobal. And working with me gives them access to speak directly with the owner of Uni-Global, James Lee, if they want or need to. That level of customer visibility has made a positive impact on our relationships with our customers. We emphasize the fact that there are no middlemen and that working with us is just like working with their supply chain partners located down the road or in the next state, except that we are able to provide a solid quality product at very competitive pricing--truly great value.

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