© asteelflash Electronics Production | May 13, 2016
Asteelflash is harmonising its orchestra
Harmony is often said to refer to the 'vertical' side of music. In short the concept could be described as a study which involves chords and the construction and progression in which they play with and against each other – how they connect so to say.
French EMS-provider Asteelflash is looking into the study of harmony as it tunes all of its facilities into the same key – thus harmonising the group’s operations. In a conversation with Neil Mincher, the General Manager of the group’s UK division, I was told about the company's ongoing harmonisation project – under which the company is making sure that all the facilities within the group are aligned with each other through a new ERP (Enterprise resource planning) system.
Neil Mincher, the General Manager of the group’s UK division - Image: © Asteelflash“About two years ago we initiated a global harmonisation project. What this means is that we have worked to harmonise all of our plants onto one sort of platform – that includes ERP-, engineering-, warehouse management- equipment and traceability systems. This has meant that we've had a complete harmonisation of networking in the whole group.” The word “harmony” comes from harmonia – which essentially means “agreement” or “concord of sounds” or the more literary meaning “means of joining” – which actually makes the name rather fitting. “The Bedford site has just flipped the switch to this new ERP platform – which gives us a really in-depth system from which we can analyse all our data and communicate it to our customer appropriately. The customer can even get real-time information on where the products are, when they will be delivered, all without having to pick up a phone or send an email.” What this really means, is that Asteelflash has taken its first steps towards Industry 4.0, syncing all the facilities with each other – making sure that they remove all slack and latency in the flow of data.
"Thanks to all sites running on the same platform we are now able to transfer products between regions really easily"Mr. Mincher tells me that Asteelflash wants to push the limits with this new system, giving a better level of services to its customers and positioning the group even better in the markets in which it operates in. And the system will assist with reaching this goal by – according to Mr. Mincher – “allowing for a more efficient way of working”. It provides the means of real-time communication with customers and tunes all production plants to the same key. “Thanks to all sites running on the same platform we are now able to transfer products between regions really easily. And thanks to all the plants having the same data, this process will go quite seamlessly. This will also aid us in finding an even better logistical fit for each customer based on geography; something we already are very good at.” He explains that the new system compliments the company's existing production system called AES (Asteelflash Excellence System), which is already in place at all the plants within the group. “This new information system measures each of the plants from a performance and quality point of view, so it compliments the operational AES.” And with the new system in place, Mr. Mincher tells me that the company is ready to advance and “to really push onto markets that we would like to penetrate a bit more. For instance in the UK we would like some more aerospace and automotive work, where traceability is a mandate. And with this new canon, we can go deeper into these markets.” And this is but one of several recent investments that the company has made. Mr. Mincher tells me that a lot is going to take place within the company. Asteelflash just opened a new facility in La Soukra, Tunisia, which is now live and running. The company's automotive customers and their business have also contributed to big investments being made in Germany, which has resulted in a new building. All we have to do now, is lean back, wait and see what the company can do with its new muscles.