Assembly: to outsource or not to outsource, that is the question?
“Competitive lead times and golden Czech hands”
Do it yourself or outsource? Companies in the Western European manufacturing industry are asking themselves this question on a regular basis. After all, the labour costs for manual assembly processes and/or installation are a strong cost factor. As such, companies are looking closely at the relocation of their assembly processes. And the Czech Republic, where the hourly wage of professionals is lower than that of their Western European colleagues, is one such consideration. Lead times and quality play a role in the decision whether or not to outsource. Iman Landheer (Sales manager), Tomáš Benda (Assembly Manager) and Karel Bartasék (Technology Manager) explain what SixPointTwo can offer in the field of assembly.
Meetings with companies that are considering outsourcing take place at the SixPointTwo offices in Weert. “Naturally, companies want to know a lot about us. Can SixPointTwo deliver? What about lead time? How can the quality requirements be guaranteed? And does it actually save costs?” says Iman Landheer. “After we have answered these questions, the company have all the information they need to make a good decision. If you want to visit Humpolec (Czech Republic) or if a feasibility study is required, we can take care of that as well of course.”
Communication is crucial
The assembly process from start to finish is Tomáš’s domain. “I am responsible, along with my team, for all the new assemblies that we carry out in Humpolec. We ensure we have received all the necessary information before and during the assembly process so we can achieve an optimal end result. If there are any questions, we contact the team in Weert first. We then check with the customer to see if any changes are required, or we propose an improvement.”
The start of a new assembly process
SixPointTwo will receive the required information about setting up and starting the assembly process from the customer. In principle, this can be done in three ways. “The first option is the customer makes some 3D Data available along with a prototype of the product. We can derive the production process from that.” The second option: “The customer provides us with the data and then comes to Humpolec as we run the assembly process for the first time. The customer then provides instructions on site to enable us to carry out the work independently.” The third option: “We receive 3D data, drawings and instructions. If we have any questions about following the instructions or clarification of the specifications, we will ask. We then have all the information we need to begin the assembly process.”
Flexibility and craftsmanship
SixPointTwo can take care of a wide range of products and as an example, these include frames for cable reels, complete housings for many machine types, as well various sub-assemblies that customers can then install into their end product. “We are quite flexible: we have laser cutting, welding, bending, component manufacture and assembly in-house,” says Karel. “We can also take care of any processes involving sheet products prior to assembly,” notes Iman. “The Czech rates for these processes, just like assembly, are lower than those of comparable suppliers in Western Europe.” Karel adds that various surface treatment requirements can also be applied, such as powder coating (in-house process), electroplating and KTL lacquering.” And then there is another important factor: “The craftsmanship of our people. People often speak of golden Czech hands, and for good reason.”
As stated previously: lead time is another factor that counts. “Lead time depends on, for example, the complexity of the assembly process,” says Tomáš. “And some components used for the product to be assembled can have a long delivery time. For more simple operations, a lead time of 5-6 weeks can be expected.” “Our lead times are without doubt competitive, and we make agreements about this with the customer,” says Iman.
Tomáš and Karel are involved in the assembly process from start to finish. “Working with the team, we carry out both the full First Article Inspection and the Final Inspection. The customer receives a report from both. We do everything we can to ensure the products fully meet the customer’s requirements and specifications for both the first series and the subsequent series.”