FSLR inaugurates first class of top suppliers

First Solar’s inaugural crop of top-ranked suppliers includes an encapsulant firm, a thin-film line builder, and a shipping specialist.

January 10, 2012 – First Solar has handed out its inaugural crop of top-ranked suppliers, based on a five-point scorecard on cost, quality, technology, flexibility, and service. Picked from a group of 60 suppliers, the top recipients span encapsulation, materials handling, and shipping expertise.

A FSLR spokesperson explained that all its suppliers were ranked on a “balanced score card” approach incorporating metrics for cost, quality, technology, flexibility, and service, and the list was narrowed based on supplier final scores. While this is the company’s first public recognition of top suppliers, it has been measuring everyone’s performance “for the couple of years.”

Out of 60 suppliers, only three scored highly enough across all categories to earn the company’s NOVA award:

STR Holdings: Provides encapsulants, which “significantly contributed to First Solar’s cost-per-watt roadmap, quality performance, and supply risk reduction,” noted FSLR in a statement.

Grenzebach Mashinenbau: Offers “conveyor and stocker systems up to a self-developed MES system.” (Here’s a Microsoft Clippyesque-led “flight” through its thin-film solar line.) Its flexibility, according to FSLR,  “enabled on-time execution of key technical initiatives.”

Master Pack: A specialty packing and shipping firm (e.g. spray foam and packaging foam), which “significantly contributed to First Solar’s cost-per-watt roadmap in Malaysia,” says FSLR.

(Question, with a nod to peers: should there be a separate category acknowleding mining efforts?)

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