To set-top box or not to set-top box

17 October 2012 News

The electronic contract manufacturing community is a beehive of activity with regards to the government initiated initiative to bring digital TV to the masses.

This is a brilliant initiative which will assist all companies involved to grow and expand beyond their current boundaries. There is also going to be a considerable impact regarding job creation which will be beneficial to society and commerce as a whole.

Omnigo was not left untouched by this flurry of activity, having had anticipatory meetings with bidders and potential bidders, determining capacity and capabilities as well as looking at financial models of the whole process, impact studies and numerous management meetings to ascertain the best road forward for the organisation regarding set-top box manufacturing.

During this whole process, though, the company never lost sight of the most important contributors to any decision that was going to be made regarding its potential involvement in set-top box manufacturing – Omnigo’s existing as well as potential customers.

While most of the other electronic contract manufacturers jumped at the apparent golden opportunity that presented itself in the form of the government initiated set-top box manufacturing tender, Omnigo used considerable time to take a long and hard look at the longer-term relevant issues as well as the potential adverse effect that engaging in such a resource-demanding manufacturing commitment could have on the companies (and especially their customers) who will be committing their resources to achieve the volumes needed to comply to the deadlines set by government.

Not only will companies involved experience a potential ‘machine need’, but there is also a definite ‘man need’ that will have to be satisfied in order to be able to meet the manufacturing demand.

This brings us to a very relevant concern that has been touched upon in the article ‘Set-top boxes: SA manufacturers speak out’ (Dataweek, 5 September 2012) where the issue was raised regarding potential job losses when the deadlines have been met and the subsequent demand decreases for the set-top boxes. Omnigo feels that this is not a question to be lightly cast aside and the organisation takes its responsibility to society and its workforce very seriously.

Another aspect that ties into the concern raised by the abovementioned article is that the investment in machines to meet the manufacturing demand is also going to be considerable.

What is going to happen with regards to the infrastructure that was acquired by the involved manufacturers once the demand for the set-top boxes has been met? Will the set-top box manufacturers then begin to undercut their competitors drastically with unrealistically cheap prices just to be able to keep their newly acquired lines busy?

Omnigo has been blessed by a good growth cycle in terms of gaining new customers, keeping existing customers happy and also in expanding manufacturing capabilities to accommodate existing and anticipated customers’ needs.

The organisation could not accomplish this without its workforce and is in the process of putting numerous new programmes in place to assist its workers and their families, as well as a few community projects that the company is in the process of implementing.

Omnigo’s philosophy that its customers are its most important resource has been the major contributing factor in coming to a decision whether or not to join in the manufacture frenzy of set-top boxes. Responsibility to the company’s workforce and their families was also a major consideration.

As such, Omnigo has decided to totally abstain from becoming part of the set-top box manufacturing group and instead continue to focus on its existing customers in providing them with high levels of service. The company feels that it would be potentially unfair to existing customers to engage in an undertaking of this proportion as it would almost inevitably have adverse side effects on service levels to them.

Not only is Omnigo abstaining from becoming involved in the set-top box manufacturing venture to focus on servicing its existing customers and keep them happy, it is also preparing to accommodate and service any potential customer that is going to be adversely affected by the set-top box manufacturing process.

For more information contact Joe Eckard, Omnigo, +27 (0)12 803 8218,,


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