Advanced Circuits is one of the largest PCB manufacturers in the United States. Now, the company is expanding the range of its services with the launch of its new Offshore Division. Recently, the company hired PCB veteran Greg Papandrew to lead the new division and help the company meet buyers’ demand for offshore PCB sourcing.
I sat down for an interview with Papandrew at PCB West, and we discussed his new job and his plans to expand the company’s “one-stop-shop” approach with its Offshore Division.
Andy Shaughnessy: I'm here today with Greg Papandrew, the new Offshore Sales Director for Advanced Circuits. How's it going, Greg?
Greg Papandrew: Doing well. It's good to be back.
Shaughnessy: Glad you’re back. So, tell us about your new job.
Papandrew: I’ve been in the industry for over 25 years. My experience in the PCB supply chain management has taught me to work hand-in-hand with the buyer and ensure consistency from offshore suppliers. Advanced Circuits wanted me to do what I have done in the past for our new Offshore Division. You know, what is interesting about Advanced Circuits is that not only is it the third-largest in North America, but it operates three very specialized facilities with amazing capabilities. We have locations in Tempe, Arizona; Aurora, Colorado; and Maple Grove, Minnesota. Anything that’s super high-tech is done in Tempe. We are Department of Defense contract-ready in Maple Grove. And Aurora is our flagship, geared to take on quick-turn protos to production runs and PCB assembly all under one roof.
Some customers don't know all of that. They don't know our physical size or all we can do, and that's something we want to change; especially now that we are broadening the scope of what we can offer buyers with our Offshore Division. Many people remember me as their PCB sales guy. I’m like a kid in a candy store here with all the capabilities the company has to offer. It is a pleasure when I call customers and say, “Hi, I’m Greg Papandrew with Advanced Circuits” and they're like, “Yeah, Greg. We know who you are. Sure, you can stop by for a visit."
Shaughnessy: That's handy.
Papandrew: It's very handy. It's nice to be a part of such a large organization. In the past, I’ve been very independent, whereas here, I have a lot of resources that I can bring to bear to service customer needs, whether it be a one-day turn for aviation or military to something that’s offshore. And it's really nice to be in a position where I go up to the customer and I can sell just about anything to them as far as circuit boards go because we are so competitive and we continue to live up to our reputation for high quality and reliability.
I still travel as much as I did before. It's very exciting. I’m still speaking at industry events. I recently spoke at PCB West about shortening the chain and what's best for a circuit board vendor, as well as what you should do as a PCB buyer. I view education as one of the most important things we can do. The second edition of The PCB Basics for Dummies book is coming out, and that’s always a hit. It's one of those things that I guess nobody throws away. So, that's what inspired us to say, "You know what? Let’s come out with an updated Advanced Circuits Edition and distribute it."
Shaughnessy: I was at your booth, and your colleagues said they're happy to have you on board to lead their offshore efforts. Tell us about your plans.
Papandrew: What's remarkable is that the amount of growth the company has had is very sustainable. We’re close to $90 million a year in sales and we haven’t even fully tapped into our offshore growth opportunities. So, right now, what we're doing is educating buyers about our abilities to not only manufacture their quick-turn prototypes and production runs in the US, but also to offer a better solution for their offshore production parts. Basically, we're not just another limited-service broker.
What makes us unique is that a lot of people deal with the ups and downs when they go directly offshore on their own. The risks for direct offshore sourcing are huge. What's unique about our operation is that we can stand behind every job; we have fully functional brick-and-mortar US manufacturing facilities that can quickly respond and resolve any issue that may arise from an offshore supplier. Buyers can think of us as an extension of their purchasing and quality department, and they can rely on us to deliver on time and with the quality they’ve come to expect from us. There's an accountability that no one else really has. We give the customer recourse where others may not.
Shaughnessy: What do you hope to do in the next couple of years?
Papandrew: Over the next few years, I’d really like to develop and refine how I've done it in the past. We manage our manufacturing partners very closely. We have a unique internal relationship with them and have our personnel on site for quality assurance. What we want to do is, as I said earlier, try to educate customers about the company’s capabilities.
I'm a pure salesperson, and it's not just the offshore component. What I like to be able to do is help promote and educate the North American market while making us a much larger part of our customers’ operation. Whether it's very simple or very complex, from military to offshore production, we’re here for them.
What amazes me is that we have over 10,000 active customers, and our marketing abilities are phenomenal. Every morning, we have a 9 am meeting, and we go through numbers, go through our sales regions, and see what's going on. The numbers are just amazing. I want everyone to understand what kind of machine we are.
Shaughnessy: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Papandrew: I've been in this industry for a very long time, and I’m still excited every day to dive in and tackle the buyers’ needs and requirements. It’s a great time to be in the board business, especially with such a powerhouse player.
Shaughnessy: All right. Thanks, Greg. Good to see you.
Papandrew: Thank you, Andy. Again, glad to be back.
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