Connecting Clients with Technology

Connecting Clients with Technology --An Interview with Ryder's Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Sum Tsai

Ryder Industries, a top Electronics Manufacturing Service provider, recently introduced Sum Tsai as their new Vice President of Marketing and Sales. Tsai brings extensive experience in EMS manufacturing to his new position at Ryder.


We understand you have about 20 years of experience in EMS. Could you tell us something about your background?

I started my career as an engineer and then moved over to engineering team management. I have a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Electronics and Information Engineering. Both degrees are from the City University of Hong Kong. I've held various roles in multinational corporations including Fujitsu, Flex, Sharp and Computime.

When I was at Sharp, I ventured into Marketing and Sales. This was a turning point in my career, coming from technical work to being able to actually connect clients with technology. After that I partnered with a friend to start our own business, and a few years later, I joined Computime to focus on ODM customer development.


You have a rather unique background, moving from design engineering to marketing and business development. With that point of view, what are your thoughts on the changes that are occurring in EMS?

With challenges from online retail, branded products are experiencing a very dynamic business environment. Some traditional, older companies may lose inherent advantages. Branded companies are more willing to outsource the heavy lifting to EMS so that they can focus on brand image and reputation, product roadmap, innovation, sales and distribution channels, and sales & service issues. EMS should be able to take care the rest, e.g. prototype build, proof of concept, product design, cost improvement services, supply chain management, manufacturability, NPI, and continuous cost improvements.


What made you pick Ryder and what is your long-term vision for them?

Ryder Chairman Eric Winkler's vision and business philosophy and CEO Henry Wu's directions and goals are the key reasons that I picked Ryder. If top management's vision is not aligned, it's very difficult to grow a company. I also see their persistence and insistence, which gives me a solid vision forward.

There are two core business units in Ryder, and in the next three to five years, we will most likely build another two core business units with comparative business. We will also structure our new global business development network to prepare for another new core business for Ryder.


What do you see that separates Ryder from the rest?

Ryder runs their business efficiently, especially with regards to operations management. Some corporations develop a bulky hierarchy, losing flexibility and effectiveness. However, Ryder has managed to avoid that. Also, Ryder has been doing lots of strategic, targeted marketing and networking to meet new prospects. A mid to long-term marketing and business development strategy which aligns with our corporate vision and mission is very important for Ryder future growth potential and our new business pipeline.


What areas of opportunity do you see for Ryder's expertise?

Ryder has a solid foundation and customer base in the audio industry, both in production and design knowhow, which helps our customers to be competitive in both cost and product innovation. The company has also been aligned with the advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) connectivity.  M2M is going to drive huge growth in the IoT business, and Ryder is gearing up to support it – in terms of reference designs, ready-to-go modules, skills, test equipment and manufacturing processes.

We also aim to develop more business in the health and wellness industries, which may help people to increase awareness in the areas of nutrition, beauty and personal care, mental wellness, pain relief and of course their overall health. Ryder is very good at understanding what an industry needs and selecting customers that benefit best from our core competencies and values.


We understand you are pro-sustainability. What environmental aspects do you seek to advance at Ryder?

Yes - I was looking for a company with a similar business philosophy to mine. After talking with Eric Winkler and Henry Wu, I found Ryder to be the best match – their interest and experience in integrating sustainability into their manufacturing sites and processes is exceptional. Using green methodology and practices, I'm looking forward to working together to bring Ryder to the next stage of substantial business growth.


Describe your goals for Ryder – please include any target areas for improvement or advancement that you may be implementing.

Ryder has achieved great results with our proven historical sales record, in part due to our Customer Focus Teams (CFTs), groups of employees whose sole focus is a single customer.

Ryder's CFTs have had extraordinary success in enabling the company to serve the customer in the exact way that the customer needs – in terms of understanding the house jargon, intuiting the unspoken bits, paying attention to the parts that our customers really, really care about, fitting in with their own particular development and manufacturing scheduling and style, strengthening the relationship with their preferred suppliers, anticipating their needs in innovation and much more.

We should consider strengthening our CFTs and further emphasize that aspect of our business, to apply that methodology beyond our "bread and butter" business. For example, IoT and health and wellness are both markets that we may target to enhance our pipeline of new projects and customers, so that we can nurture and grow them to become future "bread and butter"businesses.


Ryder is known for its "Swiss Precision : Chinese Scale." How will you enhance this aspect of the company?

Chinese EMS is no longer a simple, cost-driven industry, but a design, quality and efficiency driven industry. "Swiss Precision : Chinese Scale" perfectly represents this trend, and Ryder has been working this way for over 40 years. This is also exactly what our customers are looking for, and we look forward to sharing our unique methods with more customers as we grow our business.