SYSPRO sparks smarter business model for electronics manufacturer
An evolving contract electronics manufacturer has reduced the time it takes to create Bills Of Materials from 10 days to just one as part of a major transformation of its business model, made possible by its investment in an advanced SYSPRO Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) from K3 Syspro.
G&B Electronics is a business with over 35 years’ industry experience, and one which is transitioning its business model in order to remain at the forefront of an electronics industry, which its Managing Director describes as ‘feast or famine.’
The company began life as a design and development business with low volume manufacturing capabilities and has recently shifted it business model to become an electronics manufacturing business with test development and post sales non warrantee product support services. This has made it possible for the company to continue to respond to rapid advancements that consumerisation has brought to the electronics industry, and the demand to access complete electronics solutions immediately, and from one turnkey provider.
Facilitating this evolutionary business model transformation has been a SYSPRO ERP solution, first implemented by K3 Syspro in 2012. Since then, the solution has enabled G&B Electronics to reduce the time it previously spent on administrative tasks, and by automating standardised processes, has also provided strong foundations on which the senior management team can build a more effective business model.
G&B Electronics’ Managing Director Laura McBrown, explains: “Businesses in this sector are always demanding smaller, cheaper, lighter, more flexible products and, with competition so fierce, it is our job as an electronics contract manufacturer to meet these demands. The electronics sector is a feast or famine market and businesses need to continually find new ways of delivering value and services to customers in order to survive.
“We realised that a lot of our customers were coming to us with products in their infancy that they were struggling to turn into reality. Many knew what they wanted to do, but ticking all the regulatory, logistics and product support boxes was becoming increasingly challenging. To meet this broader service demand we introduced a more partnership based manufacturing focus to our range of services. By offering a complete turnkey solution from design for manufacture (DFM) and design for test (DFT), as well as production test development services, right through to shipping final packed product directly to distributors and supporting non warrantee product services and upgrades, we are able to frequently attract exciting and challenging work.”
Greater integration for quicker, more accurate processes
The company’s previous end of line business application was effective for design, but lacked in manufacturing functionality. The business required greater data collection capability, Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS), and wanted to integrate its financial package into its manufacturing execution system. A fully integrated SYSPRO ERP solution provided G&B Electronics with a single source of information for all mission critical business information.
A real benefit of G&B’s SYSPRO implementation is the time the company has saved on creating part numbers. The company is using SYSPRO’s standard processes for creating part numbers and accelerating this by integrating the ERP solution with DataSwitch, K3 Syspro’s data manipulation and integration tool. This is enabling G&B to reduce the time it used to take to create part numbers from up to 10 days at a time to just a day, and sometimes hours. Furthermore, because the process is automated, the business is also benefitting from more accurate data, and reducing the risk of human error. This is giving G&B complete control over its product structure.
By reducing the time it takes to perform manual processes, key figures within the business have been freed up to consider the effectiveness of the overall business model, and the impact this has on general market conditions. The global drive towards Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution – has meant that electronics manufacturers have had to prepare for shorter times-to-market, greater individualisation of products and flexibility, and therefore, engineer smarter business models built around factory interconnectivity and heightened productivity.
G&B Electronics is no different. As part of the drive towards transitioning the business model from design to manufacturing, the company has had to implement new processes for dealing with warranty support, re-calibration and product re-configuration. SYSPRO’s Serial Number Tracking functionality is making it possible for the business to effectively track the movement of all manufactured items through the production line and the wider supply chain. Many of its customer’s products are rented out, but calibrated and configured by G&B in order to keep them operating to full capacity. This is part of the company’s transition to a servitized business model, and makes it important that all items can be tracked and accounted for at all times. As Laura McBrown explains, this has also enabled the business to further segment itself into the aerospace and defence markets.
“We had already done some work for the aerospace and –defence markets before we implemented SYSPRO, but this was on a very low scale compared to what we do now. Traceability and quality are key in these industries and SYSPRO gives us the capability to become a trusted supplier through its serial and component tracking capability. We are now able to compete for serious, high level contracts because we can demonstrate strong control processes throughout our supply chain.”
Small benefits that make a big difference
Laura McBrown explains how all of these individual business benefits of SYSPRO come together to make a big impact on the company’s overall business model, its market position and importantly, its bottom line.
“The electronics manufacturing industry is moving at a rapid pace. The consumer market is driving demand and expectation in the b2b world, and businesses now want their products turned around more quickly than ever. Businesses that still have to perform time-consuming manual tasks are struggling to compete. We quickly recognised that we were losing valuable manufacturing and production time to data entry and needed an immediate solution to this. SYSPRO has enabled us to automate our manual processes, better connect our supply chain and enable us to grow our business.”
Catapulting the customer to heart of operations
As the business model continues to evolve at G&B, the next step for the company is to continue to put the customer right at the heart of operations. The business is already working closely with K3 Syspro to continue to utiltise its integrated ERP solution effectively, and provide customers with more information on where a product is in the manufacturing supply chain. The company is continually reviewing its processes, with a view to investigating an integration of its ERP system with its customer databases, in order to really cater for mass customisation and individualisation requests.
Laura McBrown concludes: “If you look at the evolution of manufacturing, everything around connectivity and servitization is all about better understanding and servicing customers. We are catapulting the customer to the heart of our operations and our business model. We want to understand how our services are going to give our customers an edge within their market, and identify how we can we use our systems better to deliver this. This is why we are constantly working with K3 Syspro to ensure our investment in SYSPRO help us reach beyond our current remit in a way that our customers feel comfortable with and recognise the value of.
You can’t sit still in our industry, and with SYSPRO, we don’t have to. It is providing a strong foundation on which we can continue to build a more effective and more profitable business model, repaying the initial costs of ERP investment time and time again.”