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    NAA Networking Event Review: Living Smarter with Flex, Tuesday 8 November, Flextronics Global Services, Warrington

    A key benefit of NAA membership is the unique opportunity to visit companies that can open your mind to different business models, which is exactly what happened with the NAA’s recent visit to Flex…

    Most NAA members who attended this event hadn’t come across Flex before, which shouldn’t be the case, as Flex – previously known as Flextronics – is a huge global company, and one that works in the automotive industry as well as many others. Flex’s Dave Hughes described the business as “the biggest company you’ve never heard of.” Flex globally has $25bn revenue, 100 sites in over 30 countries, and 200,000 employees. In terms of the automotive industry, this accounts for a turnover of $2.3bn, with 24 sites in 15 countries and over 80 customers, including almost every major OEM.

    As an example of its work in the automotive industry, Flex has worked with Jaguar Land Rover on the F-PACE Activity Key. This is a waterproof wristband that you can wear when taking part in the sort of outdoor activities expected of a Jaguar F-PACE owner, such as windsurfing or mountain biking. The idea is that you leave your keys in the car and wear the wristband, which allows you entry back into the vehicle. Flex worked with Jaguar Land Rover on the initial concept for the Activity Key and has handled the manufacture and supply of the product into JLR since then. This is a demonstration of what Flex describes as its ‘sketch-to-scale solutions’.

    As well as logistics, from its Warrington site Flex also provides growing services in the areas of reverse logistics and repair for a range of industries – and uses its ability to analyse a huge amount of data to provide smart solutions.

    All this activity is driven by the top-level vision at Flex. The company has a focus on supporting global mega-trends, which continue to drive change. We’re moving to a smarter world where 50 billion devices will soon be connected. This is revolutionising the way we live and work, in ways ranging from people being sat in their cars communicating with their home heating, to vehicle satnavs responding intelligently to a person’s flight being delayed.

    As part of these far-reaching changes, different industries – such as electronics and automotive – are merging together. To respond to such developments, Flex is providing solutions in growth areas such as electric cars, connectivity and autonomous vehicles.

    The NAA event included presentations about different aspects of the Flex business, a site tour and a networking lunch.

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham