Frank Coultard column

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Article publication date: 1 March 2003




Coultard, F. (2003), "Frank Coultard column", Circuit World, Vol. 29 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

Frank Coultard column


The Federation of Electronic Industries (FEI) and Computer Services and Software Association (CSSA) merge was finalised and launched on 16th May and the new organisation named Information Technology Telecommunications & Electronics Association (INTELLECT) was created. This impressive organisation is the custodian for over 1000 corporate members. Eventually the staff of both organisations will all be housed in Russell Square House. In quoting from the press release dated 16th May, "Intellect will represent a sector that is rapidly becoming the engine room for the UK economy and is a vital contributor to the government's plans for electronic public service delivery. The combined industry contributes:

  • around 10 per cent of UK GDP;

  • more than 1.1 million high skill jobs;

  • at least 15 per cent of total UK trade; and

  • more than £34 billion per year in UK exports".

Anthony Parish, former Director General at FEI, now Executive Chairman of Intellect commented, "As a single organisation we will have a stronger, more coherent voice with which to press our case and we will be a clear focal point for the information technology, telecommunications and electronics industries".

John Higgins, Director General of CSSA and now Chief Executive Officer of Intellect asserted, "It is not untypical for trade associations to represent the shape of the industry as it was 10 years ago. With the vision of the board and members we have created one industry body that will represent the industry as it is today and will be in the future".

The pain and uncertainty in our part of the industry continues for many if not most of our PCIF members. Still there is no sure sign of sustained recovery. Lots of false dawns more like. The PCIF groups have had several Forums during the first part of the year to discuss strategy and the market conditions. These on the whole have been well attended and the discussions have been remarkably open and with candid comments all round. No more pretence. Certainly amongst the fabricators there are sure signs that really large- scale manufacturing has withered away but even so the niche cleverness of this group assures them a future. The contract manufacturers abound in large numbers with quite a turnover in this field. Many suppliers have been badly affected and have tempered their operations to suit. The Senior Executive Forum held on 2nd July was well supported and the meetings were held at the Intellect Offices.

As can be seen from the PCIF diary on our Web site, we have been encouraged by Intellect to retain our focus for our membership.

During the recent period the ICT have held three seminars; "Horizontal versus Vertical" on 7th February in Coventry, repeated in Arundel on 14th May and "Microwave Technology" on 13th June in Coventry. The ICT Annual Symposium on 1st May, entitled "Niche Manufacturing" involved nine excellent papers illustrating the UK's unique role in the field of pcb technology and manufacture. The event was well attended and held at Russell Square House. A full write up diligently prepared by Pete Starky is posted on the Web site. Chris Wall, the ICT's Vice Chairman led the day and introduced the speakers. More ICT seminars are planned for the autumn, a repeat of "Microwave Technology", one on "Embedded Components" and another on "Flexible Technology". Please consult the Web site for details.

There is another business briefing planned for 25th September entitled "High Density Interconnection and Beyond". Other business briefings will become a feature of PCIF activities as we widen the topics normally covered by PCIF's Technical Workshops and open them up to the larger audience of the Components and Manufacturing Sector of Intellect. The advantage of this approach was well seen in the experience of the business briefings that occurred in November 2001 on "Lead-Free" and also the next on 20th March 2002 on "Opto-electronics and Related Components". We benefit not only by gaining access to larger numbers but also by access to a wider selection of well-informed speakers.

We look forward to the PCIF Annual Conference on 16th October in Cheltenham, which may just be good timing for a signal of change for the better. Let us all hope so. To get any leaner and fitter will be difficult for most. Our present condition reminds me of the urban foxes seen near my home, which have to live on their wits and are never over-weight!

Frank CoultardPCIF Director Components and Manufacturing INTELLECT

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