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Letter Re: Outlook for 2011
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 | Gene H. Weiner

I enjoyed your “Outlook for 2012” column, Ray.

You ARE the perennial optimist.

I agree with Walt and others that we will see the start of recovery in the second half of 2012, with real growth in 2013 and 2014, barring any unforeseen major events by Mother Nature that would disrupt the electronics manufacturing world, or any new major catastrophic human event (major terrorist attack or Mideast crisis) that could do worse. The recovery also will require some economic improvements, problem resolution (e.g., Greece, Italy, etc.) and stability in the countries bound by the Euro. My overall forecast may be a bit more pessimistic than some, as I see 2012 winding up with a flat forecast to a 3% decline from 2011, even as the economy and electronics manufacturing has started its second-half recovery.

Some optimists state that the recovery has already started. These prognosticators envision a 2% to 5% uptick for 2012 over 2011.

I do have a question (as usual).

You state, “We need people like Walt and organizations like the IPC to look out for us.” Walt provides real-time valuable data that helps all of us in our planning and decision making activities.

My question is: Who is the “we” whose needs the IPC is purported to “look out for”? American fabricators? American assembly operations? OEMs? Or just the broader global membership? Is it the OEMs that have moved jobs offshore to China and to Mexico?

Assembly operations seem to be continuing to further extend their supply chain sources abroad in order to meet OEM demands and remain competitive (stay in business).

America’s PWB fabricators are (for the most part) gone as a significant domestic manufacturing industry. This condition is likely to persist.

The general manager of the IPC’s Shanghai office has stated that she intends to increase its China-based membership to one third of the association’s total membership in the next few years. That is an admirable goal. It would be good for the IPC. It would benefit Chinese members and their customers – which is most likely just fine from their viewpoints. But what about the remaining American members?

So back to the question: WHO IS THE "WE" FOR WHOM WE NEED THE IPC TO LOOK OUT?

I keep hoping that an U.S.-based electronics trade association will look out for the interests of American-owned companies first, just as the TPCA, CPCA, HKPCA, IPCA and others do for their own nationals.

Regards,

Gene H. Weiner
www.weiner-intl.com

Ray's response: Gene, the "we" I'm referring to in my article are the PCB and EMS companies serving the industry along with their suppliers. 


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