Speedboard Has Its Most Successful Year to Date Thanks to Delivery of an Award-Winning Service
Financial reward aside, the reasons for owning or operating any business must surely be to see it grow, for your achievements to be acknowledged by an independent body and, perhaps most rewarding, to be told by your customers that you are doing an amazing job. In this respect, Speedboard had a fantastic 2015.
In June, we closed our 2014-15 financial year with a turnover of £9.23m, approximately 24% up on the previous year and in a market that grew by less than 4% according to the latest Plimsoll Summary Analysis report on UK Contract Electronics Manufacturing. Also, we are planning on closing FY 2015-16 with a turnover well in excess of £10m. Indeed, we reached Q1’s target ahead of forecast and, at the time of writing, it is looking like a similar story for Q2.
Electronic Manufacturer of the Month
Also in June 2015, we were named by Industrial Process News (IPN) magazine as its Company of the Month. This was largely in recognition of not only having the right manufacturing equipment (to tackle increasingly complex PCBAs and deliver consistent quality) but also having the right business model and an unwavering Can-Do attitude. Indeed, we firmly believe that traditional outsourcing arrangements have had their day. Companies outsourcing the manufacture of PCBAs and final assemblies need more support from their CEMs if they are to meet challenges in their increasingly demanding market places. In this respect, the majority of our customer engagements are now ‘collaborative’ rather than ‘transactional’.
Outstanding Customer Service Award
Then, in November 2015, we represented with an Outstanding Customer Service Award in recognition of the level of support we provided to motion capture specialist Vicon Motion Systems leading up to and during the launch of the Vantage range of high-tech cameras.
We rose to both technical and logistical challenges in that the cameras’ circuit boards required leading-edge assembly techniques and, when demand for Vantage far exceeded expectations, we coped with a last-minute 50% increase to an already demanding launch quantity. Vicon’s CEO, Imogen Moorhouse, commented:
“The level of support provided during the NPI was incredible. Our engineers spent a great deal of time in Windsor, almost as if Speedboard was our own shop floor. We could not have asked for more.”
How to Deliver Excellent New Product Introduction (NPI) in Contract Electronic Manufacturing?
The successful on-time launch of Vantage was, without doubt, thanks to our collaborative approach to business. Also, the project itself closely followed all four phases of a model we developed, and have honed over the years, for customers seeking fast turnaround prototypes and NPIs:
- Phase 1 –Working with preliminary data we support customers with Design for Manufacture and Design for Test activities. We also review the Bill of Materials (BOM) and secure long lead-time / strategic items against a capped Purchase Order.
- Phase 2 – Working to a final BOM and bare board data, we order all materials and finalise pricing (including NREs). Manufacturing preparations will include the ordering of stencils and the programming of manufacturing and test equipment.
- Phase 3 – Fast-track assembly, test, inspection and delivery.
- Phase 4 – Post production review.
Of the above, phase 2 followed by phase 3 is close to a typical build-to-print scenario. However, for NPIs and prototyping work the best results are always achieved when the customer-CEM engagement occurs at phase 1. It is essential to have up-front and open discussions if risks (e.g. surprises and delays) are to be mitigated. A good CEM has a wealth of advice and expertise to give but it is seldom utilised to the full when engagements start at phase 2.
Also, delivery should not be the end of the exercise. This is why we have a fourth phase. The post-product review is a vital part of the process and we always feed the lessons learned from the build back to the customer to support volume production.
Yes, 2015 was a great year for us – and we are continuing to build on that success. Engagements are becoming far more collaborative, with our newly formed Customer Teams acting as conduits between our customers and what is increasingly feeling like their very own shop floor.