SAN JOSE — Some experts maintain that California’s forbidding business climate undermines the Golden State’s factories, but Lumileds defies that conventional wisdom with its San Jose operation that manufactures lighting products.
“This seems like a miracle because we are making products in the most expensive place in the world to manufacture,” said Sunil Thomas, general manager of the Lumileds operation in north San Jose. “Yet we still here.”
San Jose-based Lumileds, in its factory at 370 W. Trimble Road, makes an array of LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, as well as other lighting products, that are produced for automotive, general lighting and specialty lighting uses.
Lumileds employs about 600 people at the north San Jose complex, of which 400 are involved in manufacturing, according to Thomas.
“We are the second-largest automotive lighting company in the world and we are in great many of the cars in the world,” Thomas said. “We are also a very prominent supplier of lighting for mobile applications such as smart phones.”
Among the specialty applications for the Lumileds products: stadium lighting and outdoor lights.
“There is not one secret sauce that enables us to be a competitive manufacturer in the Bay Area,” Thomas said. “We continuously innovate the manufacturing process. We have an entire team that constantly redesigns a lot of our equipment. We are always under pressure to reduce our manufacturing costs.”
The company’s foes can be found in countries — and a region of the United States — that are famed for cut-rate manufacturing.
“China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Germany, even North Carolina, are homes to the competition,” Thomas said. “The competition is global.”
All of that means Lumileds must remain a nimble manufacturer.
“We created a technology that was great for mobile applications, particularly smart phones, but even with that success, we had to keep looking for other markets,” Thomas said. “We found …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Business