Step back and consider kitting

With over 15-years kitting experience, Vanillas operations director, David Bradford, has dealt with every kitting project imaginable from fast turn-around CEM jobs to OEMs annual call-offs. Here, he and his colleagues shares some of their knowledge Vanilla is no kitting-convert, its management team has over 70-years joint expertise in the field as sales director, Dan Croft explained: Although were certainly not old tech, kitting has always been our main focus at Vanilla. With our dynamic, young sales force and modern systems, weve certainly brought the concept into the 21st century.

Based from its own 25,000ft2 logistics facility in Thetford, Norfolk, Vanilla employs dedicated industry specific kitting systems, plus ISO 9001:2000 approval, to deliver professional kitting services.

The company produces complete production ready kit, supplying the exact quantity the customer needs: no excess. With over 12k stock lines, most standard parts are stocked, ready-to-ship and sold to other customers on a frequent basis.

Dan continued: Whats the point in kitting a project if you end up with enough stock to last you through to 2012?

For SMT kits, any full reels are broken down and re-reeled in-house on mini-reels, plus a feeder and an agreed wastage (usually around six to eight inches). Components in trays can also be repacked and vacuum sealed in-house. All components are packed and labeled separately, followed by marking with the manufacturers part number, customer part number, board location, quantity, RoHS compliance and so on.

Dan added: The customer has entrusted us with their complete component supply. We return this by providing a solid, reliable, quality service. Every part fully traceable, every kit picked, counted, QAd and carefully packed to the highest possible standards.

Not only does Vanilla promise to reduce costs and workload in stores, purchasing and accounts, but stock and production cycles are also down as Dan explained: We can buffer stock complete customer kits, therefore providing a next day (even same day) service direct to your facility, defeating the need for you to manage multiple stock lines.

Purchasing manager Steve OLeary explains that although its easy to assume Vanillas comprehensive service would cost more, this is not the case: Vanilla has numerous franchise or direct account agreements and long-term relationships with many large manufacturers, often making us cheaper than main-stream distribution.

Customers are often hard to convince into kitting, people dont like change. Theyve an established, yet hard to maintain list of tens or even hundreds of suppliers and often dont have the time to step back and consider what better can I spend my time doing? Once they see how smoothly the first kit went through, its plane sailing from there on.

So: a complete kitting package which is competitive and efficient. Bold claims for sure, but backed by loyal customers. In Vanillas concluding remarks it comments that its average kitting customer has been with it for more than four years, which says much about service and commitment.