It’s hard to make strategic business partnership announcements sound sexy. Between all the hyperbole about how two companies are going to shift the industry paradigm and synergize the supply chain matrix, the average consumer’s eyes glaze over, and drool starts seeping out from the corners of their mouths. So bear with us on this one, because the announcement (or is the term Brammouncement?) of Brammo and Flextronics is an important one not only for the Ashland based company, but also for the electric motorcycle industry as a whole.
Some of the biggest problems facing any startup in the motorcycle industry are distribution and assembly. With the demand for electric motorcycles being a global issue, electric motorcycle startups, which are based primarily in the United States, have to not only grow their businesses domestically, but perhaps more importantly they need to foster a presence abroad in foreign markets.
With Europe and Asia easily out-pacing the demand in the US for electric transportation, an issue of contention for cash-strapped startups like Brammo has been how to grow globally and effectively with their limited budgets. The solution in this case for Brammo, is partnering with Flextronics, and using their scalable global production facilities.
“As Brammo pursues its international growth strategy it is critical to our success that we continue to build our strong reputation for quality, reliability and serviceability,” said Craig Bramscher, CEO and Founder of Brammo, Inc. “Flextronics is focused on providing a high quality end-to-end solutions approach to leading global companies, including automotive, and this is why we have selected them as our strategic manufacturing partner. We can now scale globally with the demand and the rapid evolution of this growth industry.”
By partnering with Flextronics, Brammo can not only outsource its assembly needs to a facility that can scale to their changing product demands, but they also gain a production presence at the doorstep of every global market they want to enter. Unless you’re a hardcore geek, you probably haven’t heard about Flextronics (it’s just a tiny company that did $24 billion in revenue last year); however it’s a virtual guarantee that there is at least one Flextronics-built device in your house right now, with the Singapore-based company taking contracts from LG, Verizon, Lego, Motorola, HP, Microsoft, and yes even Apple to build their electronic devices.
Building off Brammo’s idea that electric motorcycles have more in common with consumer electronic goods than their gasoline burning brethren, Flextronics as the global leader of consumer electronics production seems like a perfect fit. Allowing Brammo to have an in-country assembly plant in 30 countries across the globe, Flextronic’s multi-country automotive division creates not only a shortened supply chain to the consumer, but also establishes a domestic point of contact for service and support for international customers.
For Brammo the end result is a super-efficient production and assembly solution, that not only reduces overall costs, but also allows the Ashland company to go global without the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars it would have taken to do it alone.
In all the move is a pretty savvy one, as it allows the small Oregonian company to focus on its core competencies of researching and developing new products at its Ashland headquarters, while handing off complicated and sophisticated production issues to Flextronics, whose complimentary skill sets can successfully handle Brammo’s production needs.