Value Engineering or Offshore Manufacturing?

Over the last few years the attraction to produce products in the lowest cost labour regions has been overwhelming. Undeniably the factory cost was a small percentage of the equivalent UK cost. However, while the factory price received the headlines the real associated cost were often ignored. Global events have brought into sharp focus those costs. Export tariffs, transport costs and exchange rates eroded the difference between the traditional LCR and UK manufacturing. Faced with the challenge of taking 35% out of the cost of a PCBA, APC Go!, a kitting and materials management service to companies wanting to outsource non-core activities and part of APC plc, turned to Hansatech EMS for advice. While Hansatech felt that it would be more than possible to manufacture the PCBA in China, the same financial result could be achieved by applying relatively simple design for manufacturing rules and improving the test strategy.

Subsequently, APC Go! contracted Hansatech EMS to redesign the PCBA and provide the manufacturing in the UK.

Paul Gill, Managing Director of Hansatech EMS commented within a couple of days of looking at the project we provided APC Go! with a potential value engineered solution. We then worked closely with APC Go! and the customers electronic designer to remove components, layout the PCB and provide an automated test solution. Within 4 weeks of starting the project prototypes were in the hands of APC Go! ready for trials.

Amanda Parker, sales and marketing director of APC plc said We initially approached Hansatech EMS because of their capability in managing this project offshore. However, they quickly demonstrated that the value engineering approach could provide the same manufacturing costs, reduced set up costs and a faster time to market for the project.

The success of this project was brought about by ensuring that each party clearly understood the role they played. In this case materials, electronic design and approvals were the focus of APC Go!, while Hansatech took care of the design for manufacture, test strategy, project management and manufacturing. With more and more companies looking beyond manufacturing in low cost regions, companies like APC plc and Hansatech are evidence that there is true value in home grown engineering and manufacturing skills.