Catching up with Sunrise Electronics’ Ashok and Jigar Patel

Reading time ( words)

Dan: Let’s talk about your customers. What types of companies as customers are you best suited to work for?

Ashok: We have a wide variety of customers we work with and quite a few brokers as well, from small mom and pop shops and students to fortune 500 companies. We have built boards for Amazon, Facebook, Google, Tesla, Intel, Ford and many more.

Dan: What are your plans for the future? Where do you want to go from here?

Ashok: We obviously want to grow just like anyone does, but not at the expense of our existing customer base. We don’t want to be that company that grows at the expense of losing clients due to neglect.

Dan: Where do you want to be in five years?

Ashok: We would like to increase our sales another 20–30% but also want to continually stay ahead of the technology curve.

Dan: What market do you compete in?

Jigar:  We compete in the quick-turn prototype market, but our standard lead times and price points are less than the competition.

Dan: What are the challenges for competing in that market?

Jigar: We address the challenges for this market by expanding and adding the equipment and personnel. More shops are vying for quick-turn now but they still cannot do it in the fashion that we do. We just received a 2-layer order right now at 11:30 a.m. and we plan on shipping it tonight, in less than 10 hours.

Dan: What do you consider good service?

Jigar: Service is everything, and it is the backbone of Sunrise. One of the main reasons that we are growing is due to our service. We make ourselves accessible always, which the client appreciates. I have clients that are on the West Coast, two hours behind us and have plenty of options locally to get product from, but they come to us because we are always there to service their needs. We are old school in that sense but it is more than an order for us; it is about making sure our clients succeed.

Dan: What do you think your customers are looking for when it comes to service?

Ashok: Plain and simple they want that accessibility to the right person no matter the time and day, especially when it comes to quick turn. We are always there to respond to any needs whether it is good or bad. Let’s be honest, it is manufacturing and not everything always runs flawlessly, but we won’t hide from our mistakes either. Also, even if it isn’t our mistake, we view our relationship as a partnership and will work with the client on resolving the issue even if it means sharing the expense.

Dan: How do you get the word out?

Ashok:  Honestly we have no marketing mechanism—our website is outdated and we don’t really have a dedicated sales team. A lot of our business has been word of mouth—we let our work do the marketing for us. Marketing is something that we are going to be focusing on in the next twelve months.

Dan: In order to stay at the top of the technology ladder you have to invest in the future. What are your plans for investments in the near future?

Ashok: We would like to get a laser drill/router and add pulse rectifier plating. Both pieces of equipment complement each other; we can drill smaller vias than 6 mil and the pulse rectifier helps us plate these holes. Also the laser router will help greatly with routing of the flex boards. These investments will prepare us for the higher end market in building more dense boards. One of our goals is to get to nano technology and get more comfortable with sub 3/3 lines and spaces.

Dan: Finally, what are your thoughts of our industry?

Ashok:  From when I first started to now the industry has shrunk considerably and a lot of work has been shifted overseas, but technology is continually evolving and the need for R&D will always exist. Our future, as our past has been, is based on providing our customers with high technology, quick-turn products. We’ll do that by investing in the right people and equipment to keep us ahead of the technology and service curve.

Dan: I appreciate you taking all of this time to talk with me.

Ashok: My pleasure, Dan.

Jigar: Same here, Dan.

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Dan Beaulieu is a 30-year PCB industry veteran, and sales and marketing expert and writer who has contributed to numerous industry publications, on topics ranging from sales and marketing, to board shop performance.



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