A large contract electronics manufacturer offers supply chain, design, manufacturing, and distribution expertise to luminaire makers, but has just announced it is going into direct competition with some of them.
Singapore-based Flextronics has decided that vertical is the direction to move, in the LED lighting space as well as others. The company, one of the largest contract manufacturers, is already deep into other areas of green technology, including solar panels, inverters, and smart meters. Yesterday it announced Flextronics Lighting Solutions, with a portfolio of commercial and industrial LED lighting systems including sales, service, and customer support.
The announcement also included plans to help the company's energy and lighting technology manufacturing customers with a broader range of services, from simplified supply chain to helping them move products from concept and design through manufacturing and distribution, taking advantage of Flextronics's worldwide footprint -- 30 countries on four continents.
In July 2012, Flextronics had acquired the lighting company LightWild, based outside of Kansas City, Kansas. After a year spent figuring out how to integrate its operations, Flextronics announced that it will be discontinuing LightWild's archetectural lighting business and moving its Lusio line of commercial and industrial lighting products under the new Flextronics Lighting Solutions brand.
With a few more strategic acqisitions, Flextronics could become a formidable competitor to match the scale of the largest integrated companies now in the lighting business.
Sanket Ambercar, senior director of strategic marketing for Flextronics's energy division, told GreenTechMedia.com:
It's a balancing act between our existing customers. Traditionally, we would have simply taken the design from somebody and just made it. Now we're getting far more involved.
Flextronics competes with other contract manufacturing behemoths such as Celestica (now scrambling to replace the nearly defunct BlackBerry business), Foxconn (which manufactures Apple products), and Jabil Circuit (whic makes smart meter components for Silver Spring Networks). They all supply both custom-built equipment and design and manufacturing expertise in the electronics and energy industries, among many others.
What will be the effect on LED lighting if these other giants follow Flextronics into vertical integration?
— Keith Dawson , Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting