Chapters

Informations

4. Business Profile

a. Product Line

The firm offers a total hybrid-IC service in terms of consulting, research, custom design and production. Lewicki’s primary strategic objective is to remain very much in the forefront of thick film and thin film technology and provide an exclusive, customer-tailored service in this field characterised by exacting standards and a high degree of engineering expertise. Andreas Lewicki is very definitely not involved in mass production, since his feels that this low to medium volume, high quality work is best performed by smaller companies. Additional areas of competence include all substrate materials and shapes, all kinds of trimming, bonding and packaging, multi-layer (ceramic) IC’s, and multi-chip medium and large scale integration etc. Applications cover the full range of both frequency and voltage. Typical equipment miniaturised and upgraded by these hybrids includes star- and sun-sensors for satellite control, scientific and military aerospace measurement devices, missile flight control instruments, fire control devices, etc.

b. Competition

In an industry which is dominated by large, series production manufacturers with extensive marketing power, Andreas Lewicki Microelectronics stands out as an exception. Lewicki’s strategy is to develop new design concepts before his competitors, shorten the production process, and the push for fast delivery. The firm’s stated business philosophy is set forth in the company brochure:

“Two reasons force us to be the best:

Two reasons help us to be the best:

And our specialisation allows you to buy hybrid-IC’s from a pure component maker and not from your equipment market competitor.”

Typically, Lewicki limits himself to production runs of not more than 10,000 items which means that he virtually never goes beyond the preseries stage, thus enabling him to respond to shifts in technology much more rapidly than large industry is able to do.

Andreas Lewicki believes that the potential European market for hybrid-IC’s is as large as the U.S. market but that the Federal Republic is behind the U.S. in microelectronics for three basic reasons:

c. Markets

Andreas Lewicki is totally specialised in components and explicitly avoids participation in the equipment market. As a result, the company works primarily as a subcontractor. Its major customers are aerospace, medical and nuclear industries, scientific institutions, government and international civil and military consortia and organisations. Because of the wide diversity of highly specialised application areas for high reliability hybrid-IC’s, the business is not strongly affected by economic cycles.

The subcontract nature of his business presents Lewicki with various problems:

d. Distribution.

Andreas Lewicki distributes directly to his customers and, in so doing, emphasises technical consulting, specific design requirements and quality control.

e. Employees.

Andreas Lewicki currently employs approximately 30 persons but his facilities presently have a capacity for up to 55 employees and there is an option to expand this to 100 if required.

f. Facilities and Location.

Andreas Lewicki’s plant, which he owns, provides 1,000 sq.m. of floor space and is an outstanding example of functional design and environmental control – this latter factor obviously being of critical importance in thick film hybrid-IC design and production. The original decision to locate near the AEG-Telefunken complex at Ulm was made on the basis that this would provide synergistic opportunities but this has not turned out to be the case. Further Ulm was chosen as being quidistant from the three large centres for the electronics and aerospace industry: Munich (Siemens, MBB), Stuttgart (IBM, ITT/SEL) and Lake Konstanz (Dornier, Perkin Elmer).

g. Organisation

Andreas Lewicki is clearly the driving force behind the company, its technical expertise and operating style. He appears to have built up a tight team of technicians who act as “account executives” for customers on each specific project carried out.