MANAGING THE FLOWS OF INFORMATION, GOODS, AND FINANCE
Liam Casey, CEO of PCH International Limited (PCH), was in every way an adventurer. Born and having spent most of his youth in Cork, Ireland, Casey had never lived in China until he started traveling and working in the country in his late twenties. Yet, without speaking much Chinese, Casey managed to establish an innovative supply chain solutions company in China’s factory city of Shenzhen and grew it to almost 700 employees in just ten years. By 2007, PCH had become a global company; it had customers in Western Europe and North America and its IT operations, manufacturing and warehousing support was located in Ireland, China, Singapore, Taiwan, South Africa and Brazil. In fact, so successful was Casey’s business that the “mildmannered and extremely diligent entrepreneur won the Ireland 2007 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year award.”1 Collecting business competition accolades was not what Casey had in mind when he first started PCH. When Casey went to Taiwan in 1996 to attend a computer and electronics fair, he saw an opportunity to help global technology companies take advantage of Asia and China’s low-cost supplier base and manufacturing capabilities. Although PCH started out in the mid-1990s as a sourcing agent of low-priced electronic components from Taiwan and China to the Western world, by 2007 it had evolved into a provider of comprehensive supply chain solutions to global technology companies. PCH was designed to address the needs of a complex global technology supply chain landscape.
Arthur Beesley, “Casey Picks Up Overall Award,” Irish Times, October 26, 2007, p. 12 Jennie Tung prepared this case under the supervision of Professor Hau Lee as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation. Copyright © 2008 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, e-mail the Case Writing Office at: firstname.lastname@example.org or write: Case Writing Office, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 518 Memorial Way, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5015. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means –– electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise –– without the permission of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
PCH International: Managing Goods, Information and Financial Flows GS-61
STATE OF THE TECHNOLOGY SUPPLY CHAIN
The Maturing Supply Chain By the twenty-first century, technology products of all sorts became ubiquitous and profoundly transformed the way people lived and worked. However, in the 1990s, in comparison to other global supply chains such as garments and toys, which had over some 50 years of outsourcing experience, the technology supply chain was still in its early development. For example, by the mid-1990s, the digital camera, the mobile phone, and the laptop computer had only just become a mainstream consumer category. As such, in addition to focusing on designing cutting edge products, technology companies were trying figure out the most efficient ways to deliver their products to end consumers. On the consumer technology supply chain timeline, the 1970s and 1980s showed only a small number of global brands, such as the large technology conglomerates Sony and Siemens, who were industry leaders in many product categories. These industry leaders relied on their vertically integrated supply chains and their ability to lock in suppliers to keep new competitors from entering the market.2 However, as venture capital funding became more available in the 1990s, the technology market saw continuous waves of innovation, shorter product lifecycles, new products and brands. At the same time, the...