Lean Poka-Yoke and IT Tools

Lean and ITOne continuing trend in electronics manufacturing services is the increasing role IT-related solutions have in supporting a Lean manufacturing-driven organizational culture. This is particularly true of proprietary solutions that automate processes in ways that minimize normally occurring variation or help eliminate non-value-added activity.

One example of this is SigmaTron International’s proprietary Manufacturing Execution System (MES) system known as Tango, whose Phase III system went live at the EMS company’s Elk Grove Village (IL) facility in June. The overarching goal of Tango is to centralize tools used throughout the company for production management, while adding enough flexibility via customization to address facility-specific or customer-specific situations.

The EMS company uses a combination of proprietary and internally developed systems for enterprise and shop-floor management. All facilities utilize a common ERP system, plus third-party product lifecycle management (PLM) tools. Tango is now deployed as an app accessible through computers and handheld devices. It interfaces with the company’s ERP system, and the goal is to have it be the frontend interface for production personnel for all production-related data collection and tracking activity.

Its Phase III iteration strengthens its ability to support data collection and traceability functions in production and eliminate processing defect opportunities in production activities. Our latest Circuits Assembly article looks at ways that Tango improves efficiency and acts as a poka-yoke on the production floor. Read the full article here.

Is Your Design Team Making Costly Strategy Mistakes?

Avoiding Costly Design Mistakes

Most whitepapers focused on design for manufacturability (DFM) look exclusively at specific issues related to printed circuit board (PCB) layout. However, many decisions made in product design above and beyond PCB layout, from schedule milestones to material selection can impact cost to manufacture and defect opportunities. In this whitepaper, SigmaTron’s Design Engineering team looks at the topic of DFM from a different angle, analyzing the unintended cost consequences of some common design practices. Read the full whitepaper here.

Working Smarter: Maximizing Outsourcing Value

Working Smarter Post (1)

If you aren’t leveraging the manufacturing and product commercialization expertise your contract manufacturer has to offer, chances are your company is not unlocking the full value of a strong outsourcing partnership. SigmaTron International, a contract manufacturer with a global network of facilities in the U.S., Mexico, China and Vietnam, sees four areas that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) should leverage to unlock that full value. These areas are:

  • Product development/engineering expertise
  • Commodity management expertise
  • Project visibility/traceability
  • Utilizing the optimum mix of services.

Read the full whitepaper here.

Navigating COVID-19 Related Supply Chain Challenges

Lean and COVID-19

Supply-chain disruption and Lean philosophy rarely go hand-in-hand. In some cases, however, systems created to support Lean manufacturing or the principles themselves help mitigate the chaos the pandemic has created in the global supply chain. SigmaTron’s July 2020 Circuits Assembly article discusses the ways its system strategy and tools such as Kanbans have helped mitigate the impact of COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions and demand shifts.

Read the full article here.

Considering a Made in USA Outsourcing Strategy?

Is Made in USA The Best Outsourcing Strategy

Outsourcing is never a one size fits all strategy. While SigmaTron International operates a global network of electronics manufacturing services (EMS) facilities, its team recognizes that many projects have unique characteristics that align best with a specific region. This whitepaper looks at five ways outsourcing in the U.S. can save money:

  • Closer alignment with OEM design team
  • Supply chain consolidation
  • Minimization of inventory
  • Lower logistics costs
  • Alignment with local content requirements.

Read the full whitepaper here.

SigmaTron Source Q2 2020

Sigmatron Second Quarter 2020This quarter’s SigmaTron Source newsletter looks at ways that SigmaTron’s IT systems have facilitated an efficient response to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and investments that have recently been made in its Union City, CA SMT area. The Company’s focus on employee safety in all facilities is also discussed. Additionally, Phase III of the Tango manufacturing execution system implementation has begun in the Elk Grove Village, IL facility and will be implemented in additional facilities later in the year. Read the full issue here.

Offshore, Nearshore or Onshore?

Offshore Nearshore or Onshore

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted supply chains around the world and demonstrated the value of outsourcing strategies that focus on supplier competencies, geographic breadth of supplier facilities and manufacturing region choices based on advantages beyond low labor cost. It has also driven many sourcing teams to re-evaluate previous sourcing choices.

The reality is that unexpected supply chain disruptions happen on a regular basis. Consequently, instead of asking, “which region is likely the safest?”, the better questions are “which region inherently makes the most sense for our project’s characteristics?” and “which supplier is best suited to support our needs, should a disruption occur?” This whitepaper looks at the offshore, nearshore and onshore outsourcing strategy equation in terms of the advantages and disadvantages associated five project characteristics:

  • Project maturity
  • Special requirements
  • Demand variation
  • Margin sensitivity
  • End market location.

It also looks four key elements in a contract manufacturer’s business model that can be beneficial in situations where supply chain disruption occurs:

  • Build site diversity
  • Real-time systems
  • Supply chain management expertise
  • Project transfer expertise.

Read the full whitepaper here.

Optimizing Outsourcing Transitions

The Relationship Between Product Dev Support and Smooth Transitions

Outsourcing manufacturing provides a number of benefits including reduction in inventories and capital requirements, the ability to leverage shared production resources, and the ability to consolidate supply chain management activities. However, one of the largest and often untapped benefits is the ability to align product development activities with manufacturing experts capable of optimizing products for production and test. The adage that a change that costs a dollar in the design phase, costs ten dollars in production and one hundred dollars in the field is true. Close alignment with an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider’s engineering and manufacturing teams can eliminate defect opportunities, improve material availability and cost, reduce test and inspection cost, improve robustness of units in the field and lower repair costs of units with extended warranties.

SigmaTron International offers its customers scalable product engineering support that can range from a complete product development effort to optimization of existing products. This whitepaper looks at the benefits that an EMS provider’s engineering resources can bring to four areas of the product commercialization process:

  • Product design engineering
  • DFX
  • Product lifecycle management (PLM)
  • New Product Introduction (NPI).

Read the full whitepaper here.

Lean Six Sigma is a Tool For Job Enrichment

Six Sigma and Automation

People outside of manufacturing often imagine that technology’s next step is to turn factories entirely over to robots. While factory automation is growing by leaps and bounds, the reality is most automation is paving the way for workers to be far more involved in critical decision-making on the factory floor. Just as Industry 4.0 is the driving force behind smarter machines that automatically analyze and adjust processes as they inspect product, Lean Six Sigma is paving the way for a smarter workforce, capable of analyzing production trends and optimizing processes. Read the full article here.

The Quality Equation

The Quality Equation

While outsourcing manufacturing helps original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) allocate more internal resources to core competencies in product development and marketing, it also outsources much of the responsibility for quality to a contract manufacturer. In effect, the contract manufacturer is not only an extension of an OEM’s manufacturing capability; it also becomes an extension of its reputation.

Most contract manufacturers take that responsibility very seriously and develop systems and processes designed to ensure all products produced meet their customers’ quality requirements. At SigmaTron International, this focus involves both eliminating defect opportunities before they occur as well detecting and eliminating defects that do occur. This whitepaper looks at four of the areas the team at SigmaTron feels are integral to achieving that goal:

  • Design for manufacturability
  • Integration of Lean manufacturing philosophies
  • A focus on Continuous Improvement
  • A robust test and inspection strategy.

Access the complete whitepaper here.