Flex market requires focused strategies

Circuit board bookings seem to be on the upsurge, but it still takes a lot of strategic planning to expand market share. Flex circuits are an area where growth can come if companies use tactics that are tailored to this segment of the industry.
Many segments of the North American printed circuit board industry are shrinking. But there are areas where flex circuits hold promise of growth that isn’t stolen from competitors.
“Flex is a category where you can grow organically. You can grow by replacing competing technologies like wiring or wiring harnesses, or you can replace two printed circuit boards and a cable with a rigid-flex assembly,” said Al Wasserzug, director of business development, Vulcan Flex Circuit Corp.
Wasserzug, who will make a presentation on flex markets during the IPC Conference on Flex Circuits June 12-14 in Irvine, Calif., contends that marketing plans for flex must be markedly different than the tactics used for rigid sales.
“Flex tends to be designed later in the system cycle,” he said. “Unlike rigid boards, which have become a commodity, flex is still a technical sale.”
Since it’s a technical sale, flex requires a different sales strategy. One factor is that salespeople typically have technical backgrounds. Often, it’s necessary to approach different personnel.
Wasserzug suggests starting with technical staffers about the benefits they can gain by employing flex circuits. However, he notes that it’s important not to neglect the purchasing personnel who are the conventional contacts for board sales.
“The trick is to keep the procurement folks in the loop. They’re the ones who will ultimately hand you the golden ticket,” Wasserzug said.

More information:

IPC International Conference on Flexible Circuits

IPC-2223C, Sectional Design Standard for Flexible Printed Boards

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