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Electronics Production | November 30, 2007

How did Raymarine outsource its<br>products to Flextronics in Hungary?

UK based Raymarine is a company in marine electronics. In 2005 the company decided to outsource both Raymarine’s supplier base and its manufacturing activity to EMS provider Flextronics. Raymarine’s Operational Director here tells us what Raymarine did to make this process successful.
The product was outsourced from Portsmouth in the UK to Zala in Hungary. Raymarine and Flextronics signed a five years agreement and according to John Spottiswood this was a huge challenge for both Raymarine and Flextronics.

“This is low volume, high mix – this is not fast-moving consumer goods. So the outsourcing of this is a quantum leap in difficulty for us and our EMS partner. The EMS world is very comfortable with high volume, low mix, and very comfortable in their ability to build a million handsets or, in our case five million set-top boxes with only 22 variants,” Raymarine’s Operational Director told Exec UK.

He expanded the challenge for Flextronics like following, “I’ve got 48 separate manufacturing cells, I’ve 180 different printed circuit board assemblies and they have to do multiple line changes every day, so this is the ultimate test for an EMS company and it’s very much a challenge Flex wanted to take on.”

He also explained that Flextronics by taking on the challenge of producing Rayment products they prove a point to “the world, themselves and us” and see a huge shift in the sort of business they can go after.

One important thing that made this transfer successful is the workers in UK that despite being redundant where very keen on doing a great job at the factory. A lot of effort was put in to make sure that the knowledge transfer from UK to Hungary went well.

“You have to give huge amounts of support and you have to pay the price in terms of time and money”, Spotiswood added.

Raymarine had initially six employees at the Hungarian plant who soon became two. The initial push was focussed on purchasing and setting up testing for the products. When the manufacturing cells were transferred three team leaders followed the production to make sure the production took off as it should.

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