Fuji America and Jabil: Collaboration and Culture Drive Market Leadership

Jabil Supply Chain Profiles in Excellence

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A wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Corporation out of Nagoya, Japan, Fuji America is headquartered in Mount Vernon, Ill., where it has been designing and building electronic circuit board assembly equipment for more than four decades. Strengthened by its machines’ reputation for endurance and reliability, Fuji America has become the world’s largest supplier of SMT equipment.

Since launching its partnership with Jabil in 1984, Fuji America has continued to play an essential role in Jabil manufacturing by providing innovative PCB surface mount pick and place assembly solutions.

“Trends in the PCB industry are constantly evolving placing pressure on companies like Jabil to evolve in parallel in terms of scale and technological capabilities. Partnering with Fuji enables us to respond with speed to meet the demands of our customers,” Kurt Shafer, Supply Chain Management Director at Jabil, says.

“We were on the leading edge of technology with our platform of equipment and Jabil was driving to the next level of technology. The relationship started there and has grown ever since,” Tom Zabkiewicz, Executive Vice President of Fuji America Corporation, states.

“We’re dealing with facilities all over the world, so we get ingrained in every aspect of Jabil’s surface mount manufacturing site.”
- Tom Zabkiewicz, EVP, Fuji America Corporation

Cultivating A Powerful Partnership

In the world of manufacturing, there are suppliers and there are partners. Fuji America is a partner in the truest sense of the word, with a hands-on team that understands the full spectrum of Jabil’s process, technology, customer needs and strategies for continued growth. Fuji designs and manufactures the critical surface mount pick and place systems that are mounting the components to the circuit board itself, which is the foundation of Jabil’s business. Fuji’s high-speed chip placers, flexible placement systems, glue stations and screen printers are unmatched in the industry for their accuracy, repeatability and durability under extreme conditions.

“We get involved in the manufacturing sites with the technology of our equipment because our robotics are the prime source of placement in the circuit board assembly line,” Zabkiewicz says. In addition to addressing any immediate issues that Jabil may face, Fuji’s advisory role and third-party perspective enables them to look at operational data, identify potential problems and recommend interventions or modifications to optimize production.

But manufacturing isn’t just about production. It’s also about procurement. And that’s another area where the synergy of the Fuji-Jabil alliance comes into play for these two global powerhouses. “We’re dealing with facilities all over the world, so we get ingrained in every aspect of Jabil’s surface mount manufacturing site,” Zabkiewicz says. “In addition, we engage with the material logistics people at the local site who are part of the plan.”

Striving For Excellence Together

“Jabil is pushing us as a supplier to do better, to be more competitive, to supply the technologies that they need. We understand that because of a very similar culture,” Zabkiewic says. “It’s not them coming up with an idea that might make the supplier work harder,” Zabkiewic adds.

“Their customer is asking them for development and design changes. We cater to that, which leads to a very synergistic relationship. When Jabil requests something, we have a very clear understanding of why they’re asking. That’s because we have complete insight into their culture and their customer. I think that’s a key part of the relationship because it keeps us both moving forward as market leaders.”

It’s Now Or Never

Some companies haven’t jumped on board with smart factories due to a stale corporate mindset, focus on recovering from pandemic supply chain issues or hesitancy to make investments at this time. Yet, most leaders recognize that smart factories are a necessity for those manufacturers that want to thrive and grow – as well as survive future volatility like that faced in 2020. In addition, a tight labor market is accelerating the need for increased automation and robotic integration for manufacturers in all sectors.

“Jabil is focused on growing our smart factory capabilities through a connected digital ecosystem helping to achieve our vision of being the most technologically advanced and trusted manufacturing solutions provider in the world.” Shafer says. In order to achieve this vision it’s critical that we partner with OEMs who have the desire to be on the leading edge of technology advancements in PCB manufacturing. Fuji embodies this, and we have created a partnership that delivers like no other.”