From my experience, I have seen some amazing advancements in the field of contract manufacturing while also seeing some WTF moments as well. These include seeing automation for manufacturing masks due to COVID while also seeing operators smoking and watching TV on his phone while operating a lathe machine. Two completely different factories in one city.
I am very excited that we are coming out with the Contract Manufacturing eBook to share these experiences with you and to give you a perspective of contract manufacturing inside the head of a contract manufacturer.
This eBook will be a collection of my perspective on contract manufacturing and you should check this out for the following reasons:
Contract manufacturing didn’t start yesterday. In fact, Contract manufacturing can go back many decades to when manufacturers started to outsource their work in defense and some other complex industries.
A Huntsville, AL, businessman, Olin King, founded Space Craft in 1961 to build satellites and communications gear for NASA, the U.S. Navy, and other governmental agencies. When NASA funding dried up in the mid-1970s, King took advantage of relationships forged with OEMs while working on the space programs.
“King knew he had all those capabilities — equipment capacity, people, and systems — so he went to companies like IBM and said, ‘let me build for you,’” said Ron Keith, founder of Riverwood Solutions, a Texas-based supply chain consultancy, and managed services company.
IBM agreed. In a 2005 interview, King, who died in 2012 at age 78, explained how it worked.
“They came to us with a box of 150 parts and some drawings and asked us to build it,” King said, according to AL.com. “So we did. Then they brought 500 more and we built that, but they still wouldn’t tell us what it was. Then they asked for 1,000 more, and we said ‘OK, but here’s some things we did to improve it.’ That turned into the IBM PC1.”
“We just didn’t have processes in place to store non-CAD business information which was crucial to our product in our existing CAD / PDM system” says the lead engineer at the company. “So we put it in Excel. – and all the problems then flowed from that.
We had multiple places and Excel file copies which every member of the team must have access to. We couldn’t control access or maintain a master efficiently. As a result, everyone had to be an Excel VLookup expert or we would break this complicated table. The whole process was exhausting.
This time last year I personally spent 5 hours per week on BOM maintenance. It’s now 10 minutes a week. We see that same improvement with many of the lead engineers on the team. OpenBOM frees the team to do the other things that are important.”
- Global Consumer Electronic Manufacturing (Fortune 500) Company
“We are moving steadily toward running the business on OpenBOM. It just works the way we want it to work. Naturally, and as a long-established company, we have a large backlog of existing products so migration to OpenBOM takes a systematic approach. In the end, we will have a fully digital representation of our products in Solidworks and OpenBOM”
- John Ellerbrock
“We needed to get out of the business of manually tracking BOM changes in a number of places. OpenBOM checked all the boxes for us because they were easy to set up and even had a free trial period to test it out”.
- Neha Godbole
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