Defence - Fighter Plane

Supply Chain

The essence of the Contract Electronic Manufacturing task is the management of material. Achieving the right part in the right place, at the right time and at the right price is of inescapable importance therefore Ultra Electronics, CEMS have the following approach to crucial aspects of Materials Management.

  • Customer Focus Stocking Profile
  • Delegated Purchasing
  • Low Cost Sourcing
  • Obsolescence Management
  • Live Vendor Portal
  • SC21 (performance improvement)

Customer Focus Stocking Profile

Different customers require different material solutions in terms of buffer stock, kanban, just in time, bulk purchase, VMI etc. Starting with a definition of the service level that each individual customer requires, CEMS maps out the optimum strategy that maintains the required level of flexibility whilst ensuring cost competitiveness, the minimum of inventory and an acceptable assurance of supply.

Delegated Purchasing

Whilst Strategic Purchasing activity is a central business service, all project purchasing is delegated to a number of multi-disciplined Account Management Teams each of which contains a Buyer and a Senior Buyer, thereby ensuring a close identity with the small number of customers managed by each team. Quickly becoming familiar with the specific requirements and arrangements defined for each customer the Account Team buyers are able to draw on centrally negotiated purchase agreements with vendors of common parts and / or to set up supply chains more specifically suited to their customers.

Low Cost Sourcing

As the world becomes increasingly competitive the need to drive out unnecessary cost rises and responding to that trend at an early stage CEMS developed strategic relationships with suppliers and manufacturers in Asia. Having outsourced the supply of machined and fabricated metal parts, plastic mouldings, cable assemblies, bare PCB's as well as larger volume PCB assembly work, the low cost supply chain has evolved into a reliable and trustworthy network of suppliers. Seeking to extend the low cost network for low volumes CEMS has now established relations with suppliers in Central and Eastern Europe.

Obsolescence Management

A significant number of the products manufactured by CEMS are required to have long service lives and consequently the need for after sales repair and upgrade services often entails the sourcing of aged parts. In order to provide customers with the maximum visibility of component obsolescence CEMS subscribes to a worldwide component obsolescence monitoring service which alerts clients to any intelligence that might result in the foreseeable unavailability of parts. That service, coupled with the requirement upon all vendors to CEMS to notify any signs of short supply, result in a reliable and comprehensive obsolescence management service.

Live Vendor Portal

Substantial investment in bespoke software has provided CEMS with a sophisticated secure vendor portal within which all performance statistics for each vendor are made available and through which all vendors are advised of non compliance. All resulting corrective action reports are lodged at the portal and peer to peer performance information is provided to allow vendors to see how they have performed in comparison with their competitors, encouraging improvements in performance.

SC21 (performance improvement)

As a founding signatory to the Aerospace 21st Century Supply Chain initiative (SC21) CEMS has adopted the SC21 approach not only for its own continuous improvement activity (to improve customer related performance) but also taking an active part in Key Customer Working Groups, with other SC21 focussed companies and with Strategic Suppliers. CEMS also sponsors its own suppliers who wish to achieve SC21 status, with excellent results in terms of improvement of supply.

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