When speed is king, process-outsourcing rules –
With today’s fast-changing market conditions, intensifying global competition, time-critical customer demands, accelerating product obsolescence and a blistering pace of innovation, manufacturers need to pick up the pace. Getting products to market quickly without sacrificing quality has become vital to satisfying customers and maintaining or building market share.
In fact, speed-to-market could be the single most powerful competitive advantage –especially for manufacturers in volatile industries like retail electronics, beauty products, the fashion industry and many others. Innovations get copied quickly these days, so their lifespan can be exceedingly short. Winning the speed-to-market race is what it takes to capitalize on innovation again and again.
How can manufacturers reduce the time it takes to build their products, while dealing with looming questions around sustainability and business risk in an uncertain global economy? Increasingly, the answer is outsourcing to contract manufacturers.
Few companies can produce everything they need in-house; so most manufacturers incorporate some degree of outsourcing into their business models. Many outsourcing relationships are driven by the imperative to minimize costs. But outsourcing with the right partner can also boost speed-to-market – driving value and delivering a competitive edge. From this perspective, cutting costs and improving quality are side benefits.
Manufacturers looking to optimize their end-to-end cycle times seek to partner with outsourcers that can ramp up from prototype to production quickly. A proven track record of on-time delivery and compliance with customer requirements is likewise essential. Often, the most successful contract manufacturers are highly process-oriented and have the flexibility to quickly develop efficient solutions for new customers.
Consider some of the core competencies that successful contract manufacturers must maintain to remain competitive in their markets:
- Expert technical staff
- Specialized, state-of-the-art equipment
- A highly efficient, highly specialized manufacturing process
- World-class experience in solving specific problems related to their business
- A corporate culture of continuous improvement
Contract manufacturers must focus on these competencies in order to maintain a lean manufacturing environment that minimizes cost, risk and cycle times – which means less waste in the customer’s value stream.
More and more manufacturers are looking to leverage the speed-to-market core competency of their contract-manufacturing partners to the greatest possible extent. As such, they are increasingly moving from outsourcing single steps in the production process, to outsourcing a complete process for a product or component. This more strategic level of outsourcing can be the key to a sustained competitive edge in speed, as well as improved productivity, increased agility and lower, more predictable costs.
For example, here at Data Cable we are a world-class provider of cables, wire harnessing, and so forth. We offer every customer unsurpassed speed and quality at highly competitive prices. But we can offer even greater value to those customers who partner with us to optimize their custom cable assembly or electromechanical box build production cycle.
Does your organization have experience with outsourcing a complete process? Or are you thinking of moving in that direction and, if so, why? We invite your comments and opinions on this increasingly hot topic.