Customer focus drives growth

Contract electronics manufacturer, CT Production, has achieved 25 per cent sales growth in todays competitive market. Managing director Alan Trevarton explains how customer focus is the force which drives the company. INTHEMODERN manufacturing world, customers rightly expect product quality and competitive pricing as basic requirements. A successful CEM will not only achieve these essentials, but also provide pro-active support and partnership, by understanding and fulfilling customers business needs.

Fast, on-time delivery is essential to win orders and to retain business. In order to ensure this criteria is met, CTP has invested in personnel with the right skills and attitude. Team development has proved a major strength in helping the company to pull in the same direction as our customers.

Investing in production

Over time the company has also invested in assembly capability, creating a margin of capacity sufficient to accommodate peaks in production. When a customer needs a product built we have to be in a position to say yes: this is an essential part of the relationship.

As a result, this year CTP moved into new premises, more than doubling our floor space. We also boosted our automated assembly with a Europlacer Vitesse, featuring a component placement rate of 20,000 parts per hour and 0201 to 70mm BGA SMT capability, maintaining a healthy capacity for projected growth.

Ready for RoHS

Forward planning is critical for success. CT Production was an early adopter of RoHS in both surface mount and through hole and now runs both lead and lead-free processes.

The company purchased a reflow oven with eight zones, top and bottom, to maximise heat control and throughput, together with an RF-linked profiler, which has enabled us to set accurate profiles in real-time. For through-hole PCB assembly, the company invested in a wave solder machine with a solid titanium reservoir, designed for longevity with no risk of solder alloy contamination.

Some customers do not have to comply with the legislation yet as their products are exempt, however, with many components changing to RoHS it can still be an issue for their designs. CTPis working closely with customers and suppliers to achieve compliance, advising customers of any parts at risk.

Competing with offshore manufacture

Alongside fast track prototypes and small to medium runs, CTP also produces in volume. This is exactly the kind of work that could transfer to a Far-East production plant with a lower unit cost, however, when the whole package is taken into account it is possible to retain a competitive advantage. This is because we offer a faster response with the same or better quality, daily drops, lower MOQ, better communication with lower cost for set-up, control and shipping.

With these services on offer, we can make a real difference when response to order is important. We are also working towards ISO 14001 approval for environmental care, which is something most offshore competitors do not offer.

Meeting demand

Operating across a range of markets from underwater equipment to aviation products, no one customer or market is dominant, which adds to the stability of the business.

The increase in OEMs looking for a turnkey service is a positive development, enabling companies to focus on design, marketing and product support, using the CEMs core competence to complement their strengths. CT Production facilitates this partnership with a range of additional services including materials procurement, wiring, electromechanical product integration and functional test.