Humble beginnings

JIT Holdings Ltd (JIT) was founded in 1987 by Tommie Goh and William Goh. It started out as a trading firm dealing with Printed Circuit Boards (PCI) components. Business was difficult as it required them to conduct face to face selling of their various principal’s products. Hours were long and traveling across the Singapore Island was extensive. William Goh would clock an average work day of more than 12 hours and an average mileage of more than 100,000km a year. This would include making deliveries in the company van while wearing a tie.

JIT was fortunate to experience substantial business in the first year. A large majority was ploughed back into the company and the two directors took only a subsistence salary. JIT invested these retained earnings into a factory that did contract manufacturing and assembly of electronic components in a communal office in the Jurong. In order to cut cost, the directors did the internal renovations by hand where possible including painting the factory themselves. When overtime by the staff was needed, they would personally fetch and return them to their respective homes.

Becoming a global powerhouse

Business steadily improved and soon they were running operations around the clock. Finished goods manufactured at night would often be placed in the common walkway and the service elevators. It got to a point where the finished goods were placed in front of other company’s main entrance which incurred numerous complaints and safety hazard warnings. This served as the impetus to construct their buildings in Kallang and Changi, with the latter being the headquarters.

Due to their reliability and efficiency, many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) outsourced most, if not all, of their manufacturing operations to JIT. At JIT’s peak, they were manufacturing 100% of Motorola’s cellular phones globally. In addition, they were the largest contract manufacturer for HP worldwide. Their good reputation and work ethics would put them in good stead for the rest of the company’s lifespan.

This astronomical growth saw JIT’s revenue of $100,000 in its first year of business grow to exceed the $100 million milestone within three short years. In addition to being the number 1 contract manufacturer in Singapore, JIT Holdings attained a global ranking of 17th of top global CEM providers with 4,500 employees and operations in China, Hungary, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Sale to Flextronics

Flextronics acquired JIT for SGD1 billion in a share swap. Through this deal, Flextronics hoped to expand its manufacturing capabilities in Northern China (Tianjin and Shanghai) to cater to the nation’s nascent and fast growing technology sector, large engineering talent and be closer to the customer. This would complement their existing operations in Southern China. In addition, Flextronics would also expand their geographical presence in the ASEAN region with JIT’s factories in Malaysia and Singapore. Lastly, the acquisition would allow Flextronics would expand their customer base. In November 2000, the acquisition of JIT by fellow CEM Flextronics was finalized and this marked the end of JIT Holdings.

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