C&K is one of the world’s most trusted brands of high-quality electromechanical switches. C&K is committed to providing customers with leading edge technology, and improving product performance and reliability through quality and production facility enhancements. C&K has built its reputation as being a customer first organization, providing superior support, flexibility and solutions at competitive prices. Whether it’s a standard, special or custom product or design, C&K will deliver a cost-effective engineered product for all application-specific requirements.
In the interview with Mr. Phillip Gerard, Vice President of Sales Americas and General Manager, Americas for C&K shares here company product enhancements and market growth.
Phillip Gerard is the Vice President of Sales and General Manager for the Americas. He has over 30 years of combined experiences in all areas of sales including sales leadership, field engineering management, product management and marketing. Before joining C&K, Phillip was the Americas Channel Sales Director for the world’s largest connector manufacturer where he managed a $1B channel. Gerard is engaged with all aspects of C&K’s go-to-market strategy in the Americas including regional sales management, global account management, manufacturer reps, inside sales, channel deployment and all areas of customer satisfaction.
- Tell us little bit about C&K?
C&K was founded in 1928 and is one of the world’s most trusted brands of high-quality electromechanical switches. The company’s unmatched custom design capabilities are recognized globally by design engineers who demand reliable switch performance and the precise, consistent feel that represents their brand when their Customers interact with their product. C&K leads the industry in the design and manufacturing of micro miniature tactile switches; zero ppm defect manufacturing capability on all automotive grade products; and state-of-the-art design centers in Europe, North America and Asia, with complete in-house testing facilities in each region.
C&K offers flexible manufacturing capable of scaling production from prototype design through volume production. Coupled with world class machining, precision high speed stamping, plastic and rubber molding, surface plating and overmolding, the company also offers a wide range of value-added solutions, from wire leads and harnesses to complete front panel assemblies.
- Which products and markets you cover? What are the latest additions?
C&K offers more than 55,000 standard products and 8.5 million switch combinations through our custom product configurator to companies that design, manufacture and distribute electronics products. Our products can be used in any application that requires a human-machine interface and are particularly critical in industries where rugged dependability is required such as automotive, industrial, IoT, wearables, medical, telecom, high-end consumer products, aerospace and POS terminals. Our broad offering includes tactile, pushbutton, snap-acting, toggle, rocker, detect, DIP, keyswitch, navigation, rotary, slide, switchlock, thumbwheel, smart card readers, hirel connectors and custom assemblies.
- What keeps you ahead of the competition?
Our employees are our best asset with hundreds (might it be thousands?) of years of collective switch design experience and a passion to serve our customers’ technical and supply chain needs. C&K has built its reputation as being a customer-first organization, providing superior support, flexibility and solutions at the lowest total cost of ownership. Whether it’s a standard product, a variant of a standard tuned to a specific customer requirement or a complete custom product or design, C&K will deliver a cost-effective engineered product that is just right for our Customers’ applications.
- Tell us about your research and development plant.
With engineers located in all global geographic regions, C&K relies on the direct feedback from customers in industries with mission critical product requirements to help us forge our product development strategy. Along with our product management team, C&K’s engineering team is constantly looking to improve our offering to accommodate the demands of rigorous applications today and into the future. Through lean, ISO and TS-certified product development processes. We strive for complete customer satisfaction through continuous improvement and defect-free performance. With highly automated manufacturing facilities, C&K’s six-sigma design methodology, process capability analysis, statistical process control and supplier quality initiatives ensure improved performance by means of defect-free products. Our customers can benefit from products with further enhanced performance, yielding tighter tolerances, more precise specifications and higher operating cycles.
- How is your business shaping from last 2 years? Can you discuss your regionwise growth?
By concentrating our efforts with “market maker” customers in key industries and enabling our channel partners to make our vast product offering readily available to an extremely broad Customer base, C&K has achieved growth that is beyond the industry average. By offering innovative switch designs, we are recognized as a trusted advisor which has allowed us to grow in all geographic regions through thoughtful collaboration with our industry-leading customers. In recent years, we have made vast improvements to our website to make it easy for customers to do business with C&K by making technical and product selection information readily available. Continuous improvements in supplying critical information on demand, innovative product launches driven through customer and channel partner collaborations and an engaged workforce focused on best-in-class service, we are poised for greater than market growth into the foreseeable future.
- What is the next generation of technology you are most excited about?
Within our vast offering and ability to customize, we are excited to be able to fine-tune haptics to a precise touch and feel, as well as sound profile, to our customers’ exact specifications. Our manufacturing technology provides greater efficiency and “mass-customization” to C&K customers. In addition, we currently have a product that will soon be released that will provide haptic feedback to touch applications. We are already designing this exciting new product with a few select customers and expect to promote it more broadly in the near future.
- What trends are concerning you in the industry for electromechanical components?
There is an ongoing battle within the components world on two fronts: the first is with counterfeit and/or remarketed product and the second is with product manufacturers that misrepresent their products’ performance. We have proprietary testing capabilities that is so substantial that it sets the standard for agency certifications. Our products are tested to exacting specifications in the initial design and through the life of a product. C&K does regression testing to ensure that our tools are still producing product of the same quality and standard as when it was first designed; in some cases decades prior. All of this ensures reliable product that will meet the specifications we publish for the life of the product in its intended use. This is invaluable for a company that wants to reinforce their brand promise any time their customer interacts with their product and can be quickly degraded if an inferior product is selected or in the event that a counterfeit product is purchased through an unauthorized channel.
- Tell us about your distribution and marketing services?
C&K prides itself in our ability to provide the right product into our customer’s hands at the moment they need it to capitalize on their time to market window and capture a larger share of their market. Our responsibility is to develop an efficient supply chain that delivers to these requirements at the lowest total cost of ownership. We do this through supply chain solutions and through partnerships with our distributors. We strive to be easy to work with directly or through channel partners and, as such, deliver half of our product through our global distribution network.
We have also made vast improvements in our website and are driving clear consistent messaging through our marketing efforts. Giving technical information and sharing customized solutions we have created with other customers speeds time to market when other companies are developing and launching new products. Application assistance and available app notes, as well as white papers and technical briefs, are highly valued marketing services we offer our Customers.
- Would you like to put any challenges for this industry?
Our biggest challenge is living up to the ever increasing demands that protect our customers’ brands. End users expect consistent quality and reliability, a dependable interaction with their product and ruggedization that gives them peace of mind when they use the product. We continually raise our game to meet that challenge. We invite all engineering and product designers to test drive our products, services and knowledge of the latest switch technologies to solve their biggest challenges.