MTT-S is the premier microwave show. One of our aims in attending is to make sure the market understands that Labtech Microwave has a broad range of developing and expanding capabilities. We place a high value on the show’s benefits as it provides a good forum to network with our US-based and global representatives as well as meet existing and potential new customers. This year we will be launching three white papers. The first will cover detector log video amplifiers (DLVA), the second liquid crystal polymer (LCP) multi chip modules (MCM-L) and the third pin diode switches. We will also have our latest MMIC packaging samples available for review.
From the perspective of a European headquartered company the significance of participating in the MTT-S is two-fold: Due to the show’s importance, the European delegates attending tend to be at senior executive level, which allows us the opportunity to discuss our capabilities directly with decision makers. Labtech Microwave has always exported beyond Europe and so the US is an important market for us.
Also, in recent times the show has been held on the west coast USA, presenting a number of logistical travel difficulties as well as higher costs for a UK company. In fact, this was the prime reason for Labtech’s absence from last year’s event in Hawaii. Relocating to eastern cities such as Atlanta and Boston 2009 makes travelling to MTT-S easier, less costly and thus more attractive to attend. The event has developed and is definitely holding its own in the light of the uncertain economic climate. However, we do measure a show’s success on its return on investment. The cost of exhibiting at MTT-S normally pays for itself and in addition Labtech Microwave has picked up some good business.
However, the global marketplace is changing and external factors are significantly impacting our business. For instance, the use of precious metals in the production of our PCBs has greatly affected our manufacturing costs as we have been affected by the significant rise in commodity prices over the past year or so. Coupled with increasing energy and labour costs we need to continuously develop niche markets, maintaining our costs to a level that allows us to meet and exceed ever-changing customer expectations and maximise our specialist capabilities.
Whilst a strong Euro has helped us in Europe, a weak dollar and the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR) regulations have prevented Labtech Microwave from undertaking some trade in the US. The process for companies wishing to purchase components, parts, accessories and associated equipment from US suppliers can take some time and because of ITAR, rightly or wrongly, the process appears to be cumbersome. As a result, Labtech Microwave has been provided with even more potential to supply European-based organisations that benefit from our offering of an all encompassing design, manufacturing, assembly and testing service.
Looking forward I believe that some suppliers relying heavily on defence contracts may suffer as potential equipment purchase is put on hold and governments prioritise military spend to other areas such as deployment in the Middle East. The challenge is to be flexible and as we continue to do so, move away from the uncertainty of mainstream commodity supply, to niche markets. We will be demonstrating Labtech Microwave’s capabilities and our latest products at Booth 634 and invite attendees to come along, take a look and find out more.