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Plexus Corp Review

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Plexus is a tier II EMS provider specializing in engineering, design, and assembly of high complexity products. Their Product Realization Value Stream model focuses on integrating product conceptualization, design, commercialization, manufacturing, fulfillment, and sustainment.

With over 25 worldwide locations, Plexus has successfully scaled up the “boutique” philosophy of quality and customer care, focusing exclusively in market sectors requiring mid-low volume, high complexity product realization. They are currently serving over 140 OEM's with their unique approach.

Markets: Networking & communications, healthcare & life sciences, industrial & commercial, and defense, security & aerospace.

Services: engineering & design, new product introduction, manufacturing, logistics, and aftermarket.

Specialties: Design, engineering, and manufacturing for low-mid volume, high mix products.  

US Locations: Louisville, CO; Neenah, WI; Raleigh, NC; Appleton, WI (2); Nampa, ID; Buffalo Grove, IL; Fremont, CA.

Offshore locations:

Americas - Mexico (Guadalajara; Juarez)

EMEAGermany (Darmstadt); UK (Bathgate, Roxbughshire); Romania (Bihor).

AsiaMalaysia (Penang); China (Xiamen, Huangzhou).

Certifications: ISO 9001, AS9100 and Nadcap (Aerospace); ISO 13485 and QSR Compliant (Medical),  FDA class II & III medical devices, ISO14001 (Environmental), IPC 610 Class 1-3, ITAR Registered

Financial: FY2013 $2.2 billion in revenue, down 3.3% from FY2012

Size: 9,200 employees, 4.1 million square feet of facility space.

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Comments:

As a self-proclaimed “product realization service,” Plexus has become the standard for high-complexity design, engineering, and manufacturing services. Its track record is one of adaptive process refinement, wise acquisitions, and critically recognized quality. Today, Plexus continues its excellence, serving markets and customers that demand the highest level of product realization and reliability.

Founded in 1979 by Peter Strandwitz, John Nussbaum, and other entrepreneurs, Plexus began to design and manufacture circuit boards by contract, most notably with IBM, their largest customer. Between 1987 and 1989, the company experienced tremendous growth through refined lean manufacturing and business processes, cutting operating expenses as a percentage of sales by 50%, which lead to $78.1 million in sales in 1989.

Despite an early 90's recession, Plexus saw increased sales growth—the only exception being a 50% ($2.6 million) loss in 1993, which was mainly due to the completion of the company’s new Advanced Manufacturing Center in Neenah, WI. From the mid- to late 90s, in order to develop corporate research and garner more design contracts, Plexus formed alliances with Cadence Design Systems, Adaptive Microwave, IDEO, Battelle Institute, and SeaMED. In 2000, the growing company acquired a manufacturing facility in Mexico, the company’s first offshore location. In 2001 Plexus cut its workforce by 10% and acquired e2E and Qtron, as sales exceeded $1 billion. In 2002, Plexus expanded its operations to Asia through an acquisition of MCMS. Today, Plexus upholds a reputation of overall product and business sophistication.  

Plexus' strong operational and financial management is reflected in it's remarkably consistent performance.  In the most recent quarter Plexus reported 7.8% increase in revenue, from the comperable quarter last year. In the coming quarter (Q4 2014) , Plexus expects year over year growth of 3.7-8.5%.

The company's 2014 market strategy aims to expand the company’s leadership into high reliability markets, such as medical, industrial, and defense & aerospace. According to Plexus’ 2014 IR presentation, the company plans to control market territory unoccupied by their major competitors—that is, Plexus is among the few companies with over $2 billion in revenue still dedicated to mid-low volume, high complexity products. In FY2014Q3, Plexus reported 25 new wins expected to generate $282 million in annualized revenue (compared with last quarter 41 wins expected to generate $159 million). 

Plexus’ continues to receive a majority of its revenue from healthcare & life sciences (30%), networking & communications (29%), and industrial & commercial (26%). Plexus' top ten customers represented 56% of its net sales in Q3 2014. Closing out FY 2013, Plexus announced complete disengagement with Juniper Networks Inc., a netoworking equiptment manufacturer that represented 13% of Plexus’ net sales in 2013.

Awards: Manufacturer Export Award, 2013; Value Engineering Idea Lead, 2013; and Chicago’s 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For.

Glassdoor: Based on 69 reviews on Glassdoor.com, Plexus received 2.8/5 stars, with 46% of respondents recommending the company to a friend. Based on 43 ratings Plexus’ CEO, Dean A. Foate, received a 53% approval rating.

“Most Managers are easy to work with allowing good work / life balance. Most of the people are good to work with.” – Anonymous Current Employee

“The company stopped caring about family values. They stopped promoting from within and started treating the older workers like disposable assets. They lost so many good people due to weeding out older workers in a process they called workforce adjustment in 2008 - 2011 time period. They work the [m]anufacturing teams to death with no incentives left.” – Anonymous Former Employee

(See Plexus’ complete Glassdoor review)

Web (about): http://www.plexus.com/about-us/company-overview

Web (contact): http://www.plexus.com/contact-us

Further Reading: 3 Biggest Myths In Contract Manufacturing Supplier Selection