SFO Technologies

Delivering ODM Solutions Re-defining Standards For The Electronics Industry
Dr. N. Jehangir

Dr. N. Jehangir

Vice Chairman & MD - NeST Group

SFO Technologies, the flagship company of the NeST Group, specialises in providing one-stop-shop solutions to high-technology industries such as Aerospace & Defence, Communications, Energy & Industrial, Healthcare and Transportation.

A global leader in providing ODM (Original Design and Manufacturing) services, SFO has a fortune 100 customer base (GE, Thales, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, Stanley Black & Decker, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), etc.).

As one of the world’s leading manufacturers, SFO provides Build to Print and Build to Spec. services from high-performance manufacturing facilities certified to several quality standards such as AS9100, NADCAP, ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO13485, TS16949 & ESD 20:20 and CMMI V 2.0 certification for software development.

In line with the Government’s Make in India initiative, SFO offers both ‘low volume - high mix’ and ‘high volume – low mix’ services.

“Be the global leader in providing end-to-end engineering and manufacturing solutions for hardware and software products in the high value-added markets.”

SFO Technologies believes in building lasting relationships with clients to maximise customer satisfaction. Each solution is crafted with the utmost care, keeping every client’s requirement in mind.

The competitive pricing structure enables clients to gain maximum value from a project, whether completed at the client’s site or at SFO’s facilities. The aim is to build lasting relationships with clients by providing responsive service, support and training at onsite or at SFO’s manufacturing locations.

Headquartered in Kochi, SFO Technologies has manufacturing plants in Kochi, Bangalore, Mysore, Pune, Thailand, and USA. The Development Centres are in Kochi, Trivandrum, Bangalore, and Dubai, with front-end offices in New Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo, Wisconsin, and Sydney.

Dr N. Jehangir, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, NeST Group

Playing the primary architect’s role, Dr N. Jehangir has been instrumental in building the diversified NeST group with a global footprint having a presence in North America, Europe, the Middle East, India & Japan and business interests across Technology Services, Education & Training, Food & Beverages and Infrastructure.

His highly acclaimed business acumen has enabled SFO to establish high-tech industries in India, including Digital Electronics, RF & Wireless Lab, VLSI Design Centre, Fibre Optics Manufacturing Plant, Embedded Firmware Development Centre, GIS Solutions, and Tool & Mold Making Centre.

Most recently, a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), known as NeST HiTek Park, Kochi, with world-class infrastructure that houses manufacturing operations from international customers, has been successfully developed on a 35-acre plot of land in cooperation with KINFRA, a Govt. of Kerala undertaking.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Dr. N. Jehangir </p></div>
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Inception Of SFO Technologies

Fascinated by the offshoring concept prevalent in the software industry in the 90s, Dr Jehangir decided to venture into a business that facilitates hardware offshoring.

Although the idea was then novel, Mr Jehangir firmly believed that if the software being very abstract, still gets outsourced, it would be possible to make a success out of a similar concept for the hardware industry.

Strengthened by his visionary thought process about the manufacturing industry and his astute business acumen, he was able to foresee, ‘Because of the availability of engineering drawings and the possibility of transfer of technology arrangements in hardware manufacture, Customers would be interested in offshoring partnerships’.

He knew that the key to success is demonstrating the capability to provide the right price, quality and on-time delivery. This visionary idea started bearing fruit as global giant Tyco, USA - the first Customer of SFO placed a trial order in 1991.

SFO successfully capitalised on the gap that existed for offshoring in the hardware industry and complimented it with outstanding execution skills to make success in the EMS industry.

Services Offered By SFO Technologies

  • Managing advanced innovation initiatives through the three Centers of Excellence (CoEs) for Power Electronics, Photonics, and RF & Wireless enabling the global customers of SFO to reduce their time to market.

  • SFO undertakes both Build to Print and Build to Spec services extending to a wide range of digital electronics/power supplies/RF&Wireless/Fiberoptics/Magnetics/Cable and Wire harnesses. They also offer high-level assembly and software development services.

  • With a decade of experience in engineering development, SFOs Aerospace & Defence Services developed airborne electrical power systems, military power systems, military communication infrastructure (optical and copper), advanced optical systems (sensors and lasers), airborne software (compliant with DO178C), tools, and ground-based software. They also provide reverse engineering and obsolescence management services.

  • The company also excels in building dedicated and exclusive manufacturing facilities and software development centres for its customers.

SFO’s Differentiators

Growing from EMS to ODM and now to ODM plus Solutions, SFO is known to bundle its own IPs, ready-to-use product building blocks, IoT, Analytics & Mobility, Cloud, AI, and expertise in related technologies GIS, Enterprise solutions, Data Warehousing, and Business Intelligence. Their ODM plus Solutions enables redefining standards for the electronics industry.

Having an employee strength of approximately 7000 across multiple divisions with the lowest attrition rate of just 3% for the last ten years, SFO features a ‘Customer first and Employee friendly culture’ nourished over two and a half decades of its existence.

A front-runner in adopting concepts and practices benchmarked globally in QMS, EMS and Green initiatives, SFO’s philosophy of Environmentally responsible behaviour contributes strongly to their long-term growth and success.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Dr. N. Jehangir </p></div>
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SFO Technologies - A One Stop Shop Solutions EMS Provider

Founded in 1990, SFO Technologies, an Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider, caters to both sub-segments of the industry, viz. PCB Assembly, i.e. mounting components on bare PCBs and Box-Build services involving the assembly of finished equipment and their aggregates.

Defining success as a measurement of satisfaction for its stakeholders, including, Customers, Employees, Suppliers, Shareholders, Government and Society, SFO is now acclaimed as a key player in EMS in India.

  • Healthcare, defence, aerospace, locomotives, automobiles, power, oil, gas, telecommunications, industrial, and energy and transportation are the key focus industries for SFO.

  • SFO is exporting to 60 nations across the globe, being a large foreign exchange earner for the last three decades. They have received ELCINA’s largest exporter award on many occasions.

  • A key Offset Partner for the Indian Defence and a key player in many indigenisation programs.

  • SFO’s thrust areas in recent years have been FTTH programs, Digital India, and Make in India initiatives of the Govt.

  • Customer First and Flexible Partnership philosophies helped SFO sustain its Customerbase of 60-odd Customers of global renown for the last three decades.

  • SFO became the leading employer in Kerala’s electronics sector two decades ago, with a 29% share and one of the country’s largest players.

  • Renowned for its CSR initiatives, SFO focuses on health, education and employment, women empowerment, the environment, and national heritage.

Long-cherished Values At SFO

Customer centricity: Building lasting relationships with clients by providing responsive service, support and training as required to maximise customer satisfaction.

Crafting solutions with the client’s requirements and competitive pricing structures enables clients to gain maximum value from a project, whether completed at the client’s site or SFO’s facilities.

Equal Opportunity Employment: Multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multinational workforce committed to gender-neutral and equal-opportunity employment practices.

Safety, Health & Environment: Strong environment protection policy and promoting employee Health and Safety. SFO makes conscious efforts to reduce global warming and pollution by using lead-free components and recyclable materials and embracing energy conservation measures.

Transparency & Integrity: Working with transparency leads to integrity and long-term partnership with all stakeholders.

Continuous Learning Environment: Empowering people with a continuous learning environment leads to performance par excellence in all business processes.

Governance Philosophy: SFO’s Governance philosophy reflects the commitment to the highest personal and corporate ethics standards.

Setbacks In The Journey

In the first decade of the inception of SFO Technologies, their focus remained on the Healthcare business with one of the global Customers to increase their top line.

However, diversification is important to ensure better growth and sustained business. Understanding this, SFO Technologies have diversified into five industries and grown its client base to more than 60.

From focusing primarily on export business, they have now aligned with the Make in India initiative and working on offset programs for the military and home-based products like Fiber Sentinel.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Dr. N. Jehangir </p></div>
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Impact Of The Pandemic

The pandemic severely impacted every industry and business across the world. However, SFO Technologies came out of it unscathed. Being at the forefront of adopting digital Technologies, the IT team at SFO Technologies easily facilitated the migration of the entire R&D and software engineering team to a ‘work-from-home culture.

Adopting the best practices in the industry at the manufacturing plants of SFO ensured no loss of workdays, even during the peak periods of the pandemic.

With IoT adoption in the plant and video camera-based visual aids, SFO ensured that the audits by customers and certification agencies were completed on time, showing to the world that SFO is more than a conqueror in the pandemic situation.

The pandemic emphasised the need to outsource future work only to trustworthy partners operating in countries where IP protection laws are completely in vogue. SFO, being a Strategic Partner with acclaimed ethical operation by many OEMs for decades, easily capitalises on this changed scenario to enhance its business considerably.

Future Plans

According to McKinsey Global research, automation will eliminate up to 800 million jobs by 2030, a clear pointer for the ODM and EMS industry across the world. SFO realizes the importance of becoming an early adopter of Industry 4.0 and the need to reskill their employees to work in the fast-changing environment.

With the Aerospace & Defence vertical growing faster, the SFO Technologies team will focus on executing their plans to aid the growth of this vertical both in the Indian and global markets.

Building strategic partnerships with new global OEMs, enhancing domain skills, reskilling employees towards industry 4.0, making available funds for growth and working with government agencies in India or the geographies where they will focus more in the near future, the team at SFO have chalked out a highly executable plan to become a $1 Billion company by 2030.

Sharing his advice for young entrepreneurs, Dr N Jehangir shares,

“The heart of Industry 4.0 is IoT, which enables the connection of machines, products, systems and people. Young entrepreneurs can become the front runners for leading the rollout of Industry 4.0 in India and global markets. Also, data, privacy, and security open a whole new avenue and threat vector, and it’s extremely important to design security frameworks that go hand in hand with Ind 4.0 rollouts and landscape. Our Young Entrepreneurs should work towards mitigating the security risk in every front of their operations and business.”

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Dr. N. Jehangir </p></div>
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