Manufacturers today are constantly trying to improve many elements of their business through tactics including:
- Developing and launching new products (often with new technology components)
- Globalizing supply chains to reduce costs and provide local content
- Building and maintaining a strong brand for increased market share
- Supporting products over their lifetimes
- Building and operating manufacturing and technology capabilities to deliver products and services
Individually, these tasks can take years to master. The give and take between each task is a constant balancing act because accelerating one element can cost one of the others. Get it wrong and the top line suffers because a new product is not developed enough to attract customers, operating costs get too high or quality suffers because products were released before being fully developed.
Manufacturing executives must understand the checks and balances needed between these elements and must be able to successfully manage the whole organization, rather than pieces of the organization.
Centric understands the details of this balancing act. We hire experienced business strategy, business process and information technology professionals that provide balanced solutions that keep in mind the interactive effects of each decision.
If clients hire our consultants to assess the effectiveness of supplier quality, we won’t merely build a spreadsheet with suppliers ranked from best to worst. Instead, we talk to engineers about the change process, speak with the quality department regarding incoming material inspection and get the perspective of suppliers regarding how the company works compared with other companies.
When Centric is hired to implement a technology solution, we use our experience to ask questions that other technology firms may not. Basic configuration questions such as “How is the product going to change over time?” or “How many customizations to the bill of materials are made when a typical order is released?” – can have a significant impact on the basic configuration of an information technology system. If consultants don’t know enough about the business to ask these questions, then it’s a coin-flip as to whether the system will be configured to work for the particular situation.
Sometimes this means that the Centric solution may take a few days or weeks longer to get implemented, but it saves organizations from being hamstrung by an efficient technology solution that doesn’t allow the business to operate effectively.
Aerospace and Defense
Aerospace and Defense products are complex and highly configurable with long product life cycles and extensive field service challenges. Within this, engineering change and quality control are critical processes to develop and manage. Product design and development costs are typically extremely high and as a result, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are looking for Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to bear some of those costs.
Centric consultants have experience in the OEM design process, manufacturing of aerospace grade components and teaming arrangements with OEMs and suppliers. We’ve developed strategies for after-sales service programs and information systems to support various supply chain and financial processes. We work with suppliers and OEMs to implement IT solutions compatible with OEM systems and regulations. Centric also has experience with the special nuances of defense programs, including the rising and falling of defense budgets, defense procurement, ITAR and commercial export regulations.
In the automotive industry, market share is the key to profitability. Subsequently, the key to market share is a steady stream of new products to attract customers. All products must be built and delivered at an attractive price, with a remarkably high level of product quality and reliability. To achieve this, product development, design processes and systems and supply chain processes and systems are all critical components in development. Platform and reusability strategies are also important to the bottom line.
Centric has experience with automotive OEMs on these critical processes and systems. We also work with Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers in supporting individual vehicle programs from multiple OEMs. As electronics content has increased and become a higher percentage of the cost and reliability issues in vehicles, Centric works with companies on the overall transition of company culture and skills to meet these demands.
One of the major challenges for electronics companies is to marry the physical and software development cycles in a way that gives customers the latest technology with high reliability. To do so, a highly evolved systems development and product testing approach is needed that involves all levels of the supply chain.
In this era of rapidly changing technology, it can also be difficult to maintain an exciting brand image with high levels of customer engagement. As a result, many corporate structural changes including mergers, divestitures and joint ventures are quite common. Centric works with companies through these transitions to develop information technology and business process solutions for all major business processes.
Falling between the long product lifecycle of the aerospace industry and the relatively short product life cycle of the electronics industry is the middle layer of consumer products. With consumer products, unfailing brand image and cost competiveness are the keys to success. Product sales and marketing are critical.
To support this need, we have the ability to develop efficient global supply chains that incorporate information technology. Our business intelligence and ERP practices can help manage business data and extract it in such a way that allows businesses to make real time, intelligent decisions.
Centric works with manufacturers of all kinds to offer solutions that are high volume, highly configured and fully custom. Our clients typically fall into a few categories:
- Conglomerates trying to build brands and profits by extracting efficiency from disparate business units
- Suppliers trying to manage a global supply chain and keep costs low
- Smaller, privately owned companies trying to navigate the challenges of spin-offs and other economic challenges
Our application development, support services and business process management solutions are all successful tools for managing and overcoming these challenges.