Chintan Sutaria, founder and president of CalcuQuote, got involved in the EMS industry from a young age through his family’s business and had rotated through almost every job in a turnkey PCBA production floor by high school. After starting his career working at Top 5 consulting firms on supply chain process improvements for Fortune 500 clients, Chintan returned to EMS in 2014 to start CalcuQuote, a quoting and supply chain software company focused on moving the EMS industry forward. EMSNOW caught up with Chintan to learn more about ‘accelerateEMS’ a virtual event that will take place on October 28th.
EMSNOW: CalcuQuote has announced a virtual event to enable EMS industry professionals to learn and network. In this brave new world we find ourselves navigating, this is a welcome innovation. Explain to our readers how you came to put together this online interactive event.
We’ve operated as a virtual team since CalcuQuote was founded in 2014, so as the pandemic disrupted the regular trade show lineup, we felt we were the right team for the challenge of creating a truly interactive online event, just for EMS professionals. Once we found the right platform, it all started to come together. There will be valuable and relevant educational content on the main stage from EMS experts, dedicated exhibition time to meet CalcuQuote partners and opportunities to network one-on-one.
EMSNOW: How will the platform work for the audience? How will you enable interactions between Participants?
The biggest reason for choosing the Hopin platform is to make a highly engaging conference, as if you were literally walking through an expo floor and meeting exhibitors and peers from the industry to catch up on what’s new. Accessing the event will be entirely browser-based, but I’d recommend getting a mic and webcam so that you can make the most of the event. We wanted to find a way to facilitate networking, one of the biggest benefits of trade shows in our experience, so we’re excited to offer a variety of ways to connect with other event attendees.
One of the main tools is the Networking tab that will randomly match you with other conference participants for a brief video conversation. There’s an event-wide chat as well as chats specific to the main stage and individual exhibitor booths. You can chat with other participants individually in the People tab, and even invite others to a one-on-one video to meet face to face. If you’re looking to meet someone in particular, let us know – we’re happy to make introductions where possible!
EMSNOW: What kind of exhibitors will be part of the event? How will that work?
There will be an exhibition area where CalcuQuote partners will share more about their business through virtual booths. Throughout the day, attendees can visit the booths to get more information, watch live presentations and even join booth hosts on screen to discuss further. If it has been a while since you got to chat with your vendors, this is the perfect opportunity to build your relationship through a virtual platform. Exhibitors for accelerateEMS include Arrow Electronics, Cetec ERP, Digi-Key Electronics, Elisa Smart Factory, Heilind Electronics, Octopart, Rochester Electronics, Sourcengine, TTI, Inc., and Venkel LTD. Find the full list here: https://accelerateems.calcuquote.com/
EMSNOW: You’ve put together an impressive agenda, including an expert on M&A. Do you see M&A activity gearing up, post-COVID-19?
We’ve seen M&A activity growing in prevalence in the last few years, and I anticipate it will be even more prominent in the wake of the pandemic. Our M&A panel will include the president of an M&A advisory firm, an expert accountant and the CEO of a contract manufacturing company who has led several successful acquisitions and exits to cover a variety of key perspectives in M&A transactions. Whether you’re the owner of an EMS company looking to sell/retire or looking to invest in growth through strategic acquisition, I expect this will be a very insightful session.
EMSNOW: How important will innovation be for the post-COVID recovery? Do you see this disruption leading to long term changes in the industry?
Innovation has already been a key differentiating factor throughout the pandemic. Companies that were digitally enabled were better prepared to adapt to the changes and disruptions of COVID-19. The world, and EMS along with it, is becoming increasingly aligned with technology and it’s critical the industry prioritizes digitalization. COVID-19 has emphasized the importance of this transformation, and I believe we will continue to see adoption of new technologies in the recovery period.
EMSNOW: The keynote is from Richard Margolin, Founder & Chief Technology Officer of RoboKind. That’s a fascinating choice. Tell us more about that company.
Richard and Robokind have an amazing story to tell. The process of taking an idea for an electronic product, manufacturing it and bringing it successfully to the market will have interesting insights for our audience of EMS innovators and leaders. Robokind enables interactive education and therapy with facially expressive robots that teach Social & Emotional Learning and Computer Science in schools across the world. We’re proud to provide a platform for Richard to share his experience of introducing new innovations and technologies, and even more, to share how Robokind is empowering diverse learners of all ages to realize their growth potential.
EMSNOW: You have a panel discussion about EMS security on the agenda. Why do you think that’s so important now?
Reliable, strong security, and specifically cybersecurity, is an increasingly critical component of successful EMS companies. Customers trust contract manufacturers with proprietary intellectual property information, and it’s essential to keep that information protected. Beyond emphasizing the importance of having security measures in place, we also want to debunk some of the myths surrounding cloud security and provide practical solutions and advice for improving security.
Directly related to security, and arguably of equal importance, is compliance. As such, the panel’s security expert will speak to CMMC protocol, and an experienced ITAR attorney will speak to the legal importance of complying with different regulations important in EMS.
EMSNOW: The final session is about a look at what’s ahead for the EMS industry. Spoiler alert: sounds you think interconnectedness is the essential feature. Could you explain why?
Yes, we wanted to end the day by talking about the future of the industry. Digitally connected software systems are a big part of that future, but more broadly, we’ll be defining what we believe to be competitive priorities for EMS companies. This includes the ability to automate certain processes, enabling data-driven decision-making to improve efficiency and quality during manufacturing, and being more responsive to customers and supply chain disruptions.
EMSNOW: Anything else you’d like to tell our audience about this interesting event?
The event is free to join, so we encourage all EMS professionals to register and attend any part of the day that fits their schedule. Come ready to learn, grow your network and be part of moving EMS forward! Register at: https://hopin.to/events/accelerateems