Why your EMS company needs a technology roadmap

The right technology roadmap should help manufacturing companies anticipate changes in customer needs or industry trends and adjust investment strategies accordingly. But does your EMS company have a road map in place that you can trust?

What’s the purpose of a tech roadmap for an EMS company?

Like any map, it needs to show a company where they are now and where they need to be. A tech roadmap:

  • Creates a clear picture of a company’s current infrastructure and capabilities.
  • Maps how current infrastructure aligns with future customer needs and manufacturing trends.
  • Identifies and avoids future gaps in capacity and capabilities.
  • Resolves potential conflicts around business priorities.
  • Ensures business unit capabilities and tech plans are aligned across global sites.

Who should decide the technology roadmap?

In busy, international EMS companies, individual business units shouldn’t be making important, Capex decisions in isolation.

There may be pressing reasons to replace ageing equipment or invest in cutting-edge new kit. But these competing demands have to be costed and ‘baked in’ to an overall global strategy if they’re going to be able to meet customer demands in every market.

To manage this - the whole EMS business should be working together to share research and knowledge - jointly deciding where their priorities for hardware should lie.

An EMS needs a cross-discipline team to build their roadmap

That’s why you should make sure any EMS company you work with has an international team that meet regularly to plan their tech strategy.  

Engineering and business development teams should come together to report on changing customer needs, monitor future trends and make sure fresh information and ideas are always being shared effectively across the organisation.

Three Pillars that support every Technology Roadmap



Knowledge share

The team should be continually monitoring the technology landscape to identify new technologies and equipment that could benefit the EMS and its customers.

The team should always be looking to standardise equipment across the company.  This ensures consistency in maintenance and ease of equipment upgrades.

The focus here should be on sharing knowledge and experience to prevent brilliant ideas and innovations being siloed within an organisation.

Why an EMS technology strategy matters so much to customers


Innovation and competitive advantage

Innovation is at the heart of the electronics industry. An EMS provider with a clear technology roadmap is better equipped to innovate; offering cutting-edge solutions that can provide a competitive advantage to their clients.  

Risk management

The roadmap also plays a crucial role in risk management. By anticipating future technology shifts, an EMS provider can make informed decisions on equipment investments, skill development, and process improvements, mitigating risks associated with obsolescence and capability gaps.  

Joined up thinking

In addition, proper collaboration and communication protects a business from the risk of developing tech silos. The business needs to ensure what they build in one place, they can repair, finish or replace in another if they need to!

Cost efficiency

Strategic planning through a technology roadmap can lead to more efficient use of resources, optimising R&D investments, and avoiding costly last-minute changes. This, in turn, can translate into cost savings for clients, without compromising on quality or innovation.  

Customer confidence

For clients, knowing that their EMS provider has a clear vision for the future should give them confidence they’ll keep their competitive advantage. It demonstrates a commitment to growth, stability, and long-term partnerships, which are crucial for businesses navigating the complexities of the electronics market.

Is your EMS partner on track for continuous improvement?

In global companies, there is always a need to experiment with new ideas before they are rolled out across an international estate. Not only are smart businesses planning and agreeing what they need in place to make them future proof, but trialling different approaches and sharing results.

Within ESCATEC, for example, the success of projects implemented over the past 12 - 24 months opens up new possibilities for additional robotics and automation across other global facilities. Some of the recent projects implemented leading to efficiency and quality improvements include:

  • Automated screwing cell
  • Automated glue dispensing cell
  • Automated printing cell for plastic parts
  • Robotic soldering stations
  • Robotic screwing stations
  • Material handling robots

Mapping future manufacturing needs against manufacturing requirements

There are all kinds of pressures on global manufacturing firms to work smarter. But the whole business needs to understand where they need to concentrate efforts to fulfil future demand.

Future product requirements

Future manufacturing requirements

  • Shorter time to market and shorter product lifecycle
  • Highly volatile products
  • More customisation
  • IoT requirements
  • Smart products with multiple sensors
  • Advanced energy management
  • Durability
  • Miniaturisation
  • Increasing ESG demands
  • Tightening regulations
  • Precision assembly
  • Interconnection technologies
  • Advanced testing
  • Process automation
  • Ruggedised electronics
  • Flexible production
  • Green factory technology
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Industry 5.0

Developing a collective understanding of the future needs of customers will encourage every part of an EMS company to experiment and collaborate in new and exciting ways without wasting valuable resources.

Your chosen EMS partner should be able to show you how all their business units work together to map out their tech strategy together.

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Written by Dr Martin Mundlein

Based in Switzerland, Dr. Martin Mündlein has worked for ESCATEC for over 18 years in a variety of engineering roles and is currently Department Manager Production & Engineering for the Swiss site. Dr Mündlein leads the ESCATEC Technology Council to ensure the company remains at the forefront of innovation in the production areas. His responsibilities include understanding customer requirements, introducing new technologies, and providing leadership in the production area to further enhance operational excellence and technological advancement.