January 25, 2021

VIEWPOINT 2021: David Butler, EVP and General Manager, SPTS Technologies

VIEWPOINT 2021: David Butler, EVP and General Manager, SPTS Technologies
David Butler, EVP and General Manager, SPTS Technologies
How has Covid-19 affected your business in 2020?
The UK, where we have our main research, development and manufacturing, went into lockdown in March but we were able to keep essential staff on-site to build and ship equipment, and to run our development/demo systems.

We adapted to the new-normal quickly. Even though there was some tightening in the supply chain in the early days, we did not miss any shipments and maintained our customer satisfaction scores. Overall, I’d give us a solid "A" for the way we navigated 2020.

The impact on markets was mixed; technologies needed to support working from home and e-commerce saw huge growth, whereas the legacy auto semi market virtually collapsed in the March and June quarters. However, I think it's fair to say that technology kept the economies going through 2020, and our business stayed strong right through the year.

Has the pandemic affected your business plans for 2021?
Not really. It will change things tactically; customer meetings will likely stay virtual up to at least the middle of the year, as will our physical conference presence. But fundamentally, the macro-drivers are intact, and our development plans continue unchanged. In the main, our customers who entered 2020 as leaders in their markets, will exit the year in a similar position or better.

What are your expectations for the Semiconductor industry next year?
We expect 2021 to be a growth year, with contributions from all our main markets. The automotive industry has recovered very quickly with only a modest amount of inventory in the channels. Interestingly, since COVID, people would rather own a car than travel on public transport. A vibrant automotive market supports many parts of the semiconductor industry; power management, connectivity, image sensors, LEDs.

We think the RF market will continue to grow, driven by multiple 5G handset releases, plus the necessary infrastructure.

2021 will see new high-performance packages for data centers, AI and cloud computing, on a range of platforms using fan-out, 2.5D and hybrid bonding.

I think we'll see MEMS microphones for smart speakers continuing the strong sales of 2020 into next year, and I expect MEMS sensors for medical uses to be an area of renewed focus, another consequence of the pandemic.

David Butler, EVP and General Manager
SPTS Technologies Ltd
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