Foreign Military Sales - Back to the Future for Sales Opportunities

Reading time ( words)

Against a backdrop of depressed U.S. economic conditions across all industry sectors and a pullback in funding needed to grow our businesses since at least 2009, coupled with the offshoring of many circuit manufacturing opportunities, these are truly challenging times to operate a U.S.-based printed circuit board manufacturing or electronics contract manufacturing operation.

Over the past decade, the military/aerospace sector has transitioned from a period of accelerated DX-rated contract manufacturing in support of our country’s multiple war efforts to a post-war period. We are currently in the midst of the attendant phased pull-out of troops, and have warily watched our inconsistent and at times recalcitrant Congress paralyzed by inaction. Those of us doing business in this sector have also navigated government funding shutdowns and tried to optimize our operations in advance of the looming indiscriminate sequestration defense budget cuts. Alas, we have now been presented with a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that largely negates those cuts near term, and in fact provides funding greater than the Pentagon’s sequestered budget request. Like me, your initial response may bring to mind the ubiquitous text response, “WTH?” But I would like to explore the current military circuit board business environment in a slightly more mature fashion and pose a key question for us all to consider.

As business executives, how do we operate, navigate, and manage a military/aerospace-oriented circuit board shop or CEM operation in such an unstable and unpredictable environment?

The lifeblood of any circuit board or CEM, or any business for that matter, is a predictable and profitable sales backlog. Key to capturing and maintaining mil/aero customer and program opportunities, and thus providing a stable backlog that provides an opportunity to plan and to grow, is fully understanding the mil/aero market and the status of customers and their programs at a very intimate level. Equally important is to understand the DoD funding associated with each of the programs you support.

Read the full column here.

Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of The PCB Magazine.


Suggested Items

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

11/11/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
The industry news cycle seems to be picking up speed lately. Of course, 30 days into the quarter is about when public companies announce their results, and in the midst of this worldwide financial situation, we’ve got all eyes on anything coming out from our counterparts in the industry. I’ve noticed that global corporate results (Nan Ya PCB and TTM, in particular) do seem to be on everyone’s radar. In addition to financial news, trade shows are popping back up around the world—Europe, India, and a special report from editor Andy Shaughnessy, who took his own road trip to Raleigh, reporting on PCB Carolina, which had its own heyday this year.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

10/14/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
I’ve been in Washington, D.C., most of this week, attending and reporting on the IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium. You’ll see more content from me in the weeks and months to come as I sort through and highlight the varied aspects of this ground-breaking event. If you’re in this industry, advanced packaging will affect you, make no mistake about it.

Michael Carano: A Focus on Process Control, Part 2

09/28/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
In this second half of our conversation, Michael Carano discusses some of the metrics that fabricators need to consider before investing in new processes, especially process control technologies, and some of the challenges board shops face updating brownfield sites.

Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007 | IPC Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.