Smart data management with the EMS accelerator
How EMS contract manufacturers develop into high-performance EMS accelerators, who use smart data to create added values.
In Germany there are around 400 EMS providers. Ideally, the customer orders an electronic module or device using an article number. This article number is broken down into hundreds of components. An enquiry regarding price and availability must be made for each individual component, these frequently have to be negotiated and ultimately ordered.
Anyone who wants to survive in the market supplies their customers with fast, marketable results – and at the same time also offers harmonisation of the master data. This resource-intensive process is significantly streamlined and accelerated by the interaction of an intelligent product data structure, an efficient ERP system, through automated web bots and last but not least, through experienced employees. This digitalisation step divides the EMS market into EMS accelerators and EMS stragglers: Consolidation is inevitable.
The added value of smart data is produced by intelligent digitalisation of the raw data, which are subjected to multiple iterations in which they are corrected, standardised and enriched with current market information. Planning and scheduling, design and engineering and ultimately all production processes also operate on the basis of the project master data. This master data is used to create added value – strategic and operative decisions are made, depending on their quality, market up-to-dateness and, if applicable, additional information. They rightly form the backbone of an electronics and electromechanics company.
Unfortunately, reality in the projects business frequently shows the opposite. The largest worldwide BI survey of users ranks the master data problem among the top three for systematic analysis of business processes (Source: BARC, www.barc-research.com). It is indisputable that strategic decisions in particular suffer as a result and small (unidentified) causes achieve a large effect. In addition, BARC also identifies data quality as the third largest challenge for successful data preparation (see figure on the left).
The right EMS company
Know-how, resources and data quality account for the bulk of the difficulties that companies have to deal with. Here the key in project-based electronics production lies in choosing the right EMS accelerator, who first “digitally harmonises” each project centrally, digitally and with a good portion of experience. EMS companies have all individual components with extensive metadata, which demand not only daily-updated movement data but also static technical knowledge. This can be viewed as a single point of information, when the data for each individual component is collected, updated and enhanced. The success of the project is considerably dependent on the smart data measures undertaken by the EMS accelerator.
Value proposition - simple, faster, intelligent
Digitalisation and (partial) automation accelerates the entire project progress, the data quality, volume and up-to-dateness increase substantially and the master data is permanently harmonised. Web crawlers automatically search for delivery periods, prices and metadata, parts lists contain fewer or even no errors at all and are consolidated.
In this way, a process is started that makes such data a production factor. Because due to their value (intelligent collection, refining and provision), these data largely correspond to the 4th production factor knowledge. They are available in digital form saved in the machinery and are no longer ties to human players.
An EMS accelerator therefore makes a value-adding contribution to the customer’s comprehensive data management, when it transforms master data into “smart data”, provides it for further evaluations and achieves a quality level that allows sound strategic decisions to be made from the customer’s point of view.
An EMS accelerator is therefore required and expected to ensure the data quality cycle for projects, especially the correction, harmonisation and enrichment of the article data. The result is not only high-quality handling efficiencies but also increased flexibility and often even knowledge transfer regarding technology, planning and scheduling and processing. The data is monitored and controlled not only fully automatically in digital form but also by the “industrial engineers” in the project.
EMS acceleration concept
“If a production article has run through all trades in our company, from the design to component procurement through to production, I not only obtain a functioning end product, but I also enable customers to have an integrated view of their device. There is so much additional benefit in the data that we supply that a productivity gain is achieved on all levels.”, is the firm belief of Dr Ralf Hasler, CEO of the Lacon Group regarding his EMS acceleration concept.
EMS providers in an era of digital change
“With our digital offensive we operate flexibly and competently within the changing boundary conditions of the market. This includes active use of intelligent web technologies, semi-automated compaction and preparation with subsequent standardisation in the ERP.”
The EMS “contract manufacturer”, who previously tended to be derided, has developed into a high-performance EMS accelerator. They not only function as a sparring partner with industrial engineering expertise, but also optimise business processes, transfers and transforms project knowledge and, as a data manager, ensures the high quality of the master data in the project.
Interview with Dr Ralf Hasler, CEO of the Lacon Group
Painful. No hype. EMS added value. Adding value with smart data.
A brief company portrait please.
With 250 employees in Germany and 300 in Romania, the Lacon Group is to be classified as an EMS accelerator. Lacon is one of the top 20 EMS providers in Germany. It achieves a turnover of almost 60 million euros annually.
Which firms are your customers?
Its customers range from technology corporations to small innovative firms. In the past ten years our Group has supported and advised more than 20 high-tech start-ups with prototyping, industrialisation and series production.
We develop, optimise and produce electronic and electromechanical modules and devices for these companies. These include printed boards, assembled and injection moulded cables and cable harnesses, control panel assemblies, power distribution boards, industrial controls, medical devices, display systems, parts removal machines and measurement and test devices.
What makes your company different to other EMS providers?
We not only produce prototypes but also series between 10 and 100,000 parts. The special feature of our company lies in its high degree of flexibility, which it achieves using small, quick to retool production machines in combination with manual work. The comprehensive service offer ranging from a components shop through to the issue of conformity documentation is also special. Production mainly takes place in the Upper Bavarian town of Karlsfeld.