An Evening with Kingston : By -Virginia Gaw Marketing Director, APAC, Kingston
Offering more than 2,000 memory products that support nearly every device that uses memory, from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and cellphones, Kingston has definitely come a long way since its inception in 1987. The company serves a wide array of distributors, resellers, retailers and OEM customers all over the world. From USA to China, to Taiwan and to India, you name the country and it readily extends the sales support. It also provides contract manufacturing and supply chain management services for semiconductor manufacturers and system OEMs.
With global headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, Kingston employs more than 3,300 people worldwide. Regarded as one of the “best companies to work for in America” by the Fortune magazine, Kingston’s tenets of respect, loyalty, flexibility and integrity create an exemplary corporate culture. They believe that investing in its people is essential, and each employee is a vital part of Kingston’s success.
Kingston Technology grew out of a severe shortage of surface-mount memory chips in the high-tech marketplace in the 1980s. Two masterminds and the present owners of the company, John Tu and David Sun were determined to find a solution. They made use of their engineering expertise and designed a new Single In-Line Memory Module (SIMM) that used readily available, older technology through-hole components. A new industry standard was born and so was Kingston Technology on October 17, 1987. In 2006, the company’s sales exceeded $3.7 billion.
It was in Computex 2007 in Taiwan that VARIndia team got the opportunity to have a conversation with Virginia Gaw, Marketing Director, APAC, Kingston, and also visit the manufacturing plant of Kingston in Taiwan.
Tracing the history from 1988 to 2007, VARIndia team came up with the fact that Kingston is one such company whose successful credentials go to the people working round the clock for its growth and development. Undoubtedly, one such employee is Virginia Gaw whose dedication and determination have added newer and greater heights to the company’s business.
While discussing about Kingston’s products, Virginia placed highest premium on reliability. Its reliability is the cornerstone of the product strategy. It is this reliability that contributes to the high degree of trust between Kingston and its customers. Virginia said, “Kingston is dedicated to exceeding the industry standards when it comes to detail, product quality and product reliability.” And, for this, the company has developed an industry-leading quality process to ensure that the memory delivers superior quality, performance and cent percent compatibility with the computing system the module is designed for.
Considered as a major player in the DRAM industry, the company has developed long-term relationships with the leading DRAM manufacturers. Unveiling the potential buyers of the DRAM chips, she took names of Samsung, Toshiba, Infineon, Hynix, Elpida, Renesas and others.
Virginia said, “To cater to the needs of the growing market, Kingston has established four manufacturing facilities on a global scale. These manufacturing facilities are strategically located in the US, Taiwan, Malaysia and China. Each facility serves the memory needs for Kingston and the top tier system manufacturers that employ Kingston to make their system memory. It has more than 40 state-of-the-art Surface Mount Technology (SMT) lines that build more than eight million customized modules each month for servers, desktops, notebooks, workstations, printers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), hand-held PCs, graphic cards and digital cameras.”
“Thought globally considered as small, even India adds 50 million to the total of 3.7 billion. India is such a diversifying country that everything they do is a learning experience for us. Like every part of the world, the company is now trying to spread brand awareness in India and also to grow the revenue growth from 50 to 90 million,” she added. She believes that the USP of the company is in the belief that quality is based on the synergy of all the four areas: Design, Components, Assembly and Testing (DCAT).
Kingston modules are designed to meet the specific requirements of the system or class of systems the module will be installed in. Since memory performance varies slightly between brands of DRAM, Kingston’s design standards call for in-system qualification of every new module design.
Kingston’s proactive Supplier Quality Program certifies and monitors DRAM chips, boards (PCBs) and passive components. It has established strict quality control measures that subject component lots received to testing for compliance.
All memory chips are sent directly from the DRAM manufacturer to Kingston assembly plants to minimize handling and reduce the chance of damage. Numerous steps are taken throughout the entire assembly process to eliminate the possibility of electrostatic discharge, which is the leading cause of memory failure.
Kingston employs a multi-tiered testing system to ensure quality control throughout the manufacturing process. In addition to the rigorous tests performed on DRAM and other components, the company subjects all new module designs to signal-quality testing, software stress testing, thermal testing, and system-specific, long-term reliability testing. Hence, we can say that Kingston’s success in the memory industry is directly related to its quality, reliability, expertise, support, stability and business practices.
When asked as to why one should choose Kingston above other competitors, she said that Kingston’s products enjoy superior quality, it customizes its memory and guarantees cent percent compatibility. Regarded as an independent memory module manufacturer, it has stability along with reliability and expertise. Boasting about the products, she said that Kingston offers lifetime warranty on all their memory modules, boards and flash cards.