|Founded||25 September 1969(as Flextronics, Inc.)|
|Headquarters||San Jose, California, U.S. (operations)|
Singapore (legal domicile)
Number of locations
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references|
Flex Ltd. (previously known as Flextronics International Ltd. or Flextronics) is an American Singaporean-domiciled multinational electronics contract manufacturer. It is the third largest global electronics manufacturing services (EMS), original design manufacturer (ODM) company by revenue, behind only Pegatron for what concerns original equipment manufacturers. Flex's corporate headquarters are located in Singapore, and its administrative headquarters are in San Jose, California. The company has manufacturing operations in over 40 countries, totalling about 200,000 employees.
In 1990, the company returned to being a private company in a leveraged buyout and was renamed as Flextronics International, Ltd. with Singapore as its new base. In 1993, the company received venture capital funding through Sequoia Capital, and became a public held company again in 1994. The company closed its contract electronic manufacturing plant in Richardson, Texas in 1996. The company acquired two companies in Hong Kong, Astron Group and FICO Plastics Ltd. and a Swedish-based company, Ericsson Business Networks. In 2000, the company ranked third on "100 Best-Managed Companies" by IndustryWeek. In 2005, the company purchased the manufacturing division of Nortel Networks, and Solectron in 2007. In 2006 Flextronics took over a part of the production of Lego, but in 2009 Lego decided to end relations with Flextronics and purchase the production facilities in Mexico and Hungary. On 4 June 2007, Flextronics offered to purchase Solectron for US$3.6 billion and thus making Solectron a subsidiary of Flextronics. The acquisition of Solectron was completed by end of October 2007, earlier than anticipated.
On 18 March 2009, Flextronics was invited to ring the NASDAQ stock market opening bell, signifying the day's start of trading and celebrated 15-year NASDAQ-listed anniversary. Mike McNamara (CEO) and a group of top executives represented the company at the ringing of the bell. On 25 August 2009, Flextronics announced that it was chosen by LG Electronics (LGE), a global provider of advanced digital products and applied technologies, to manufacture 19, 22, 26, 32, and 37-inch LCD television receivers at its Ciudad Juárez, Mexico facility for distribution to the North and South American markets. On 2 September 2009, Flextronics announced that Multek received Danaher Test and Measurement's 2009 Outstanding Supplier Award. The award was given based on quality, delivery performance, engineering support and cost for work with two of Danaher's business units, Tektronix and Fluke.
On 15 September 2010, Flextronics announced that it had been chosen by Brammo, Inc., a global leader in the electric motorcycle business, to be its manufacturing partner for the production and distribution of plug-in electric motorcycles and components. The partnership represented an expansion of Flextronics' Automotive Division's portfolio for battery-powered vehicles and complemented its expertise in high voltage and energy recuperation for the automotive market. In 2010, the company signed an agreement with Lenovo to provide manufacturing for Europe. That same year, Flextronics also signed an agreement with Brammo to provide acquisition and manufacturing in North America, Asia and Europe.
In 2012, Flextronics incubated Elementum, a start-up supply chain management (SCM) company based in Mountain View, California. In 2014, Elementum was spun off from Flextronics as its own separate entity.
In 2014, Flextronics was named as the manufacturer of the Fitbit Force by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission in the context of a complete recall of the product due to rashes developing on the wrists of its users.
In July 2015 the company announced that it will change the company name from Flextronics to just Flex.
In September 2015, Flex acquired NEXTracker, one of the leading solar tracker companies, for $330 million. In August 2016, NEXTracker bought Bright Box Technologies, a leader in predictive modeling software and machine-learning technologies, expanding its capabilities in advanced diagnostics and real-time control of solar tracking systems.
In November 2015, Flex, acquired Wink smart home platform to bring the Intelligence of Things "Home". Flex has been a strategic partner to Wink, serving as their primary supplier of hardware and firmware, including the Wink Hub and Wink Relay, which include core intellectual property developed within Flex. In July 2017, Flex sold Wink to i.am+ for $38.7 million.
In August 2016, the state of Massachusetts and the city of Boston offered the company more than $3 million in public aid to entice the company to open its Flex Boston Innovation Center on the South Boston waterfront. The 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) facility will employ 25 people and be located in a former military storehouse in the Seaport, now called the Innovation and Design Building.
On 31 December 2018, Michael M. McNamara resigned as the company's Chief Executive Officer. McNamara worked at Flex for twenty-four years. He served as the company's CEO from 2006 to 2018. At the time of his retirement, Flex had $25 billion in revenue and over 200,000 employees worldwide. The Board of Directors hired an executive recruiting company to assist with its search for a new CEO. On 11 February 2019, Flex announced Revathi Advaithi as CEO. Prior to Flex, Advaithi was president and chief operating officer for the Electrical Sector business for Eaton Corporation.
In 2013, Flextronics launched Lab IX, an accelerator program based out of Milpitas (where the company also has an R&D centre), which will award $500,000 to each selected company to grow their ideas and bring it to market.
The focus of Lab IX is to find start-ups that are less than three years old, have less than $5 million in funding – "early stage disruptive companies incorporating hardware and software innovation". In addition to a capital injection, Lab IX will also provide access to Lab IX and Flextronics' engineers and designers, including IDEO, access to manufacturing and prototyping equipment – some $30 million in the R&D centre alone. Those who look like they may be progressing to the next stage of their development get access to Flextronics' network of factories for manufacturing, procurement network and marketing network.
In 2015, the company rebranded itself as a “Sketch-to-Scale” solutions provider. The term, “Sketch-to-Scale”, is a registered trademark of Flex. Flex provides its 2,500 designer engineers to prospective customers. Through this program, Flex helps develop the customer's product from an idea (or “sketch”) to manufactured product (“scale”). These customers can send their own design engineers to Flex’s innovation lab, an ultra-secure work area where customers can pursue top-secret projects, to understand how to develop concepts into products. Flex targets small start-up companies for this service and promises confidentiality. These companies will then have access to Flex’s team of experienced designers and manufacturers. The program is advertised to take a product through several stages of production, including concept design, prototype creation, improving the supply chain distribution and logistics, and globalization. This is similar to the OEM model, commonly used with large companies to lower costs for research and development. In OEM design, a manufacturer that the company contracts handles most stages of both research and production, handing off a finished product to the corporation from various ideas that the corporation has came up with.
Breach of contracts
Flextronics was sued what was apparent in breach of contract with Beckman Coulter Inc., a global leader in medical device solutions. The case dates from 1997, when Beckman Coulter entered into an agreement with Dovatron, a unit of the Dii Group, to provide circuit boards for a Beckman blood analyser. Flextronics acquired the Dii Group in 1999 and, according to Beckman, shortly thereafter Flextronics refused to provide the circuit boards unless it bought other electronic components from the company.
Beckman filed suit in early 2001, seeking $2.2 million in damages, which were cited as the costs incurred in having to retool one of its plants to manufacture the circuit boards in-house. At the end of the trial, Flextronics paid $23 million for the damages.
Leak of USB charger confidential shipment data
A former Flextronics executive pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud and security fraud by providing confidential information related to USB charger shipment data used for U.S. based iPhones and iPods for the third and fourth quarters of 2009.
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