The strategic progress Laird has made over the past year has been grounded in the investments executing our strategy and delivering on our strategic differentiation. This has deepened our relationships with existing customers and allowed us to win new customers and develop new markets.
Sector and customer diversification will even out the seasonal fluctuations in revenue which tend to be driven by the demands of the consumer market and will, over the longer-term, drive higher capacity utilisation and greater efficiency.
We have focused on penetrating new market segments and geographies as well as selling more products (collaborative selling across our businesses) to existing customers.
We said we would focus on China, Korea and Northern Europe. We have made clear progress in China with industrial and automotive customers and won new long-term automotive contracts with leading German automotive OEMs.
In December 2012 we said that our market entry strategy to significantly penetrate the Korean market would take at least a year to deliver, as we needed to assess and review our options and invest resources in stepping up our strategic account engagement. In January 2014, it was announced that a new plant in Vietnam would be established, which will work in conjunction with a Business Design Centre in Korea. This initiative is expected to contribute to revenue growth in 2014 and the expansion of our geographic footprint will create further opportunities with new and existing customers.
Our increased level of R&D investment has brought new contract wins as customers continue to reward us for the innovation we provide. Notable examples include contracts with automotive and telecom customers for whom we have provided innovative solutions for technically challenging products, as well as continuing to be a design partner with smartphone customers on next generation models.
The positive impact from increased R&D in our Performance Materials division, which has relatively short product lifecycles, helped drive differentiation in 2013 and is expected to contribute to new business wins in 2014. For the Wireless Systems division, product cycle and qualification periods are longer. For both divisions, the adherence to product roadmaps is much improved, bringing new products to markets at a faster pace.
Another strategic focus in 2013 has been to enhance our governance and risk mitigation framework. Governance as well as culture, leadership, strategy and operating model, comprise the five foundational pillars that align the leadership within our business.
The organisation has become more collaborative and operates under the “One Laird” approach.
In order to facilitate the Company’s new direction and to empower leaders within our organisation, a Leadership team was formed which is comprised of the most senior managers across Laird. The team meets three times per year, provides a key forum for networking and collaboration and is a driving force in implementing the strategy and embracing the new culture.
The Leadership team also forms part of the Management team which meets annually and comprises the top 200 managers. This team reaches deeper into the organisation to embed the culture, to cascade the strategy and provide guidance and leadership to the whole organisation.