SAI Quickstart Helps Ensure Rapid Project Transfers

The team at Spectrum Assembly, Inc. recognizes that transferring work from one contract manufacturer to another can be challenging, and goes out of their way to make this as logistically simple as possible. For example, when a defense contractor needed a technically strong and flexible manufacturing partner to implement a high frequency communications system, SAI took the technical lead in sorting out the requirements from the lead subcontractor and three other companies involved in the project. SAI's Quickstart service enabled the product to be delivered to the customer on time and dramatically under budget.


SAI’s Quickstart process focuses on identifying potential manufacturability issues and supporting the qualification process associated with new product.


Underlying the service package approach is a highly automated systems philosophy. Aegis Manufacturing Operations Software is a key component. Where possible the team at SAI has migrated to a paperless factory floor, making it easy to maintain revision control on documentation, create intelligent visual aids and include multimedia work instructions.  In terms of customer benefits, the system makes it easy to upload customer data and then validate the bill of materials against the Gerber and PAD files. PAD OR CAD? It also shortens project launch time as pick and place and AOI programming can be driven through the same data import, and makes engineering change order (ECO) implementation faster. SAI also utilizes LCD monitors to display work instructions where practicable in production. In addition to enhancing documentation control, it also speeds line changeover between products, since work instructions can be changed in seconds.


Addressing the Challenge of Variable Demand


When end market demand is frequently changing, it can be difficult to accurately forecast what will be needed from your contract manufacturer. The team at Spectrum Assembly, Inc. frequently works with customers who have variable demand and has developed stocking programs to address this. For example, when a medical products company wanted increased flexibility to its PCBA production requirements, SAI developed a PCBA kanban program to address that challenge. Bin quantities were mutually agreed upon and a two bin finished goods (FG) Kanban was set up. The customer’s orders were fulfilled from finished goods bins at SAI and consumption of the first bin triggers a replenishment pull signal in production. Raw materials are replenished as bins are emptied from SAI stockroom and supplier inventory. As a result, the customer’s inventory exposure was minimized, while increasing flexibility by cutting 12 week lead-time to 10 days.


Concentrating on Core Competencies


One of the biggest benefits of contract manufacturing, is its ability to free up customer resources to do what they do best: innovate! While some companies feel manufacturing is part of their core competency, others prefer to focus on developing market-leading products. The team at Spectrum Assembly, Inc. can work as an extension of its customer’s manufacturing capabilities or be a customer’s entire manufacturing capability. For example, an agricultural products company needed a contract manufacturing partner to support a product with seasonal demand. Product is built to support a growing season in one part of the world, then shipped back to the factory and refurbished. The refurbished product is shipped to farmers in the opposite hemisphere. SAI provided new product introduction (NPI) services, prototyping, production, refurbishment and global fulfillment. As a result, the customer has been able to concentrate on its core competencies of product development and marketing. SAI’s ability to provide complete lifecycle support, eliminated this customer’s need to invest manufacturing personnel, equipment or facilities.


Alex Toppsai, pcba, box build