Born out of the vision of two creative, technological supply chain trailblazers, Flextronics- the world’s second-largest provider of electronics manufacturing services and the largest global manufacturer of cell phones- took form. Tapping into a burgeoning market of overflow manufacturing services, this unique electronic visionary busted onto the technological scene, through its humble origins. With service offerings ranging from “stuffing” printed circuit boards, for electronic firms, within California’s Silicon Valley, to an ever-expanding full-service handling of all aspects of the production process- component manufacturing, assembly, testing, packaging, distribution, and later, product design and development- this one-stop, outsource depot carved its niche, and claimed its status, as a well-established, electronic manufacturing service giant. Guaranteeing efficient reliability, through its unbeatable, deal-securing offering of short lead times and final lower unit costs, this industry-leading conglomerate (a) maintained a constant “finger-on-the-pulse” connection to their original equipment manufacturers, (b) developed a flexible and uniquely responsive manufacturing system that in turn created a permanent, presence-building existence, which (c) secured itself on the industry map (Huckman & Pisano, 2010). Due to the strong growth within this arena, as well as the increased propensity for enterprise outsourcing, Flextronics acted upon the following reality: “In order to effectively utilize supplier capabilities and technologies within product innovation efforts, a firm must take into account its position, with respect to the supply network, complementarily of technologies, within the supply network, and the method with which the focal firm controls the suppliers in the network (Narasimhan & Narayanan, 2013).” Thus, during the growth of the 1990s expanding EMS Industry, Flextronics invested heavily in acquiring control of critical manufacturing and distribution centers, to increase their scale of existing manufacturing capabilities, as well as enlarge their scope of the capabilities that could be offered to customers in key areas of manufacturing and product design. Through their substantial technological acquisitions, this multinational powerhouse’s strong and targeted supply chain strategy- a comprehensive control over manufacturing- ensured consistency in product quality, continuing their industry domination until threats of changing demands and increasing competitors. Moreover, even though Flextronics ran a fairly inexpensive, affordable operation, an overall sluggish economy, downturn in global demand, increased demand to lower selling prices thus production costs, coupled with increased competition from newcomers/imitators threatened this industry leader’s almost monopolistic market position. Consequently, in an effort to combat the aforementioned combined threats to its competitive advantage, Flextronics executives were charged with the task of brainstorming, identifying, designing, developing, testing, evaluating, marketing, and selling new innovative solutions, products and services (Huckman & Pisano, 2010). The purpose of this paper is to explore Flextronics” role in maintaining market relevance and dominance, as they sustain “shared value,” to continue to achieve an effective “triple bottom line,” comprehensive sustainability model, within its long-term supply chain management networks and plans. Furthermore, a (1) review of Flextronics’ historic and evolving company business model, an (2) analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of their substantial horizontal (competitors) and vertical (suppliers) integration initiatives, and the (3) identification of potential conflicts relative to the risk of sustainability in the form of cannibalization, as related to the selection of one of the three Original Design and Manufacturing (ODM) Model options, pertaining to the distribution of the...
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