Critical Manufacturing increased its sales representative base significantly in 2020 for the Electronics and SMT Industry in North America. We’ve added a category called Manufacturer’s Reps. What is the reasoning behind this? 

Let’s start with the definition of a Manufacturer’s Rep  

Reps are sales organizations that specialize in serving the needs of a specific industry segment or segments in a specific territory. For Critical Manufacturing, it is the Electronics Assembly and SMT (Surface Mount Technology) Industries. These industry segments have common needs: sales partners must understand the intricacies of the business (equipment integration using industry-specific interfaces (CFX, CAMX, SECS /GEM); enabling flawless traceability; coordinating material control across all processes, enforcing quality process management and providing real-time performance monitoring, reporting and KPI management).

A rep works in collaboration with the company they represent (the Principle) and are typically the ‘first touch’ for a customer, or potential customer. The rep will identify, qualify, and oftentimes sell the solution to the end user or customer, collaborating with their supplier for sales demos, proposal support and other pre-sales activities. 

The representative normally has multiple products and solutions on their ‘line card’ from the companies they represent (Principles) that they can offer a customer. This makes them a valuable resource, for they can supply not only (in Critical Manufacturing’s case the MES) software, but hardware, equipment, and other items to build out a solution, making it more comprehensive and complete. Due to their deep relationships with their customer base, achieved by representing multiple Principles, they are able to easily approach prospects and target companies and have more “feet on the street” than could be achieved (or afforded) by a Principle’s direct sales force alone.

Think of Reps as a Quarterback on the field. They have a large playbook (line card solutions) that they can ‘call’ (offer) depending upon the scenario that he is seeing in the field (customer location or territory). The quarterback then moves his teammates accordingly throughout the play and reports back to the coach (Principle) on the player substitutions (resources) that he needs in place for the particular segment or play in order to win the game and make the fans (customers) happy. The better the plays (line card solutions) and with strong support from the coach (Principle) and proper game management (resource coordination), the quarterback can win more games and build a strong and happy fan (customer) base.

The other reason we’ve chosen reps is more pragmatic. In the early 90s, I started my career in this industry as a Manufacturer’s Rep, so I’ve walked in their shoes. I am a big proponent of the strategy of using Reps in key territories as I’ve seen how successful this model can be. The depth of the relationships these reps have with their customer base is something that would be very difficult to develop with a direct (from the vendor) sales force. Since we have partnered with some of the best reps in North America who have extremely strong line cards, the exposure to key individuals within our target customer base is vastly enhanced.

The use of representatives for an MES company is fairly unique. Automation companies traditionally have a distributor network where, acting as a rep would, carry multiple lines (from sometimes competitive companies) in order to offer a complete automation solution—anything from a PLC controller to HMI (process visualization) and MES software. These distributors work within a specific geographic ‘territory’ and any customer that lies within that area will be serviced by that company. The distributor may stock products, and offer customers services such as pre-sales calls, maintenance, training and other customer care. Rather than specializing in an industry or segment, a distributor is a generalist to serve all of the industries (and customers) in their geography.

Representatives, on the other hand, are much more specific. For Critical Manufacturing, these agencies understand the nuances of the high tech/electronics/semiconductor industries. Their line cards include products to keep a factory running: printers, vision systems, precision hand tools, consumable materials, etc. and are synergistic to the other products offered. Additionally, most of our reps also represent our parent company, ASM PT’s placement systems, in a specific geographic territory so it is a normal extension of their day to day focus and expertise.

Who Our Reps Are in North America

We’ve chosen ‘the best of the best’ for all of our partnerships, and our representatives are no exception. Here is a listing of our reps in North America with their contact information:

  • E-tronix is responsible for the Upper Midwest US. With over 60 years of experience in the Electronics Assembly sector, they pride themselves on being the solutions provider to their customer base. Contact them at (952) 922-2232 or
  • FHP Reps manages the South Central US territory. They provide best-in-class equipment, consumables and services to the electronics manufacturing industry. Contact them at (719) 238-2747 or
  • Performance Technologies Group handles the Northeast US, with over 20 years of experience in the electronics and industry assembly markets. Contact them at (978) 337-2324 or
  • Process Automation & Tool, LLC for the Southern US represents the leading products within the automotive, electronics and industrial manufacturing markets. Contact them at (770) 365-7054 or
  • Smartsol Technologies –has been assigned Mexico as a whole. They provide turnkey services including capital equipment, consumables, and engineering services including technical support, training, applications and spare parts for the Mexican electronics manufacturing industry. Contact them at +(52) 1 333 156 5566 or
  • Technica USA services the Western US SMT and electronics markets. Since 1985 they’ve provided high quality products and services for the ever-changing, fast paced electronics industry. Contact them at 1-800-909-8697 or 

The Rep Network Geographies

Representatives work by covering specific geographies for their manufacturers, and we have active reps in nearly every state in North America.

We are excited to build out this new network for increasing our customer care. Having a network that specializes in a very specific industry segment (SMT and Electronics Assembly) brings an added level of knowledge that we couldn’t create alone. These reps have a collective experience of well over 200 years! They offer the best in class of rep service, to complement our best-in-class, modern, Industry 4.0-ready MES.

For more information on our Rep network, please visit our Partner’s page. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer—my email is or you can reach me at 808-868-8298.