Case Study 4 - Defence


Customer / Product resume: AWS Customer already use AWS Electronics Group for a wide range of its electronic manufacturing services. In response to market pressures it found itself developing more and more new product requiring more specialist electronic engineers. Many of them were tied up in repairs, upgrades or maintenance. As a prime with full IP and process ownership it’s core skills were about new product introduction and ideas rather than the manufacturing or repair. Following a review of its Satellite repair support team it was decided to out source repair. The product was 25 years old legacy equipment that was supporting defence systems across Europe. Representing some thousands of units in the field. Maintenance was centred on power supply, RF amplifiers and over 10 types of PCBA in RF and high voltage application.

AWS Involvement: The AWS Customer was aware of AWS dedicated repair facility and asked them to tender for repair. They had three main objectives:

  • Reduce number of engineers on repairs to enable them to transfer onto NPI projects. 
  • Release the current repair workshop space (for new projects and production).
  • Improve repair performance – Turnaround times, Availability & cost

AWS had no experience of this product, so knowledge transfer was the main issue. Typically a lot of the ‘repair’ knowledge was in a handful of engineers experience. Whilst documented diagnostic fault trees, engineering data and test procedures existed, due to ‘other’ priorities not all information was complete or up to date.

Immediate problems:

  • Treated as secondary support operation within the cuctomer site
  • Knowledge transfer – perceived as a ‘black art’ of the specific product
  • Ad hoc approach to repair process – different engineers operated in different ways.
  • Lack of meaningful data on repair times, turnaround time and true cost
  • Drawings, BOM’s and Datapacks not up to date
  • Low volumes (Stranger) meant long learning curve

Solutions provided by AWS:

  • AWS provided new focus and performance improved
  • Initial repairs were jointly documented
  • Repair process defined and agreed – including standard repair scenarios
  • Repairs fully costed – times all measured and variation understood
  • Agreed performance measures- turnaround time
  • New data packs, diagnostics and fault trees developed
  • Work transfer/training 3 months – with 3 months ‘hot line’ support from AWS Customer


  • Labour Cost Saving (£100k annualised) - 3 direct heads on engineering MRO support transferred to new projects. Value of savings (non –recruitment) – £100k per annum
  • Improved Performance (50%) - Turnaround times – from average of 12 weeks to 6 weeks (50%), Monthly reporting on quality, cost and delivery (tracking) introduced
  • Space and other savings (£28.7k annualised) - 24 sq metres released to new projects (£3k annualised). 6 sq meters store space released o new projects (£0.7k annualised). Indirect labour savings (£25k per annum): Stores, Logistics, Transactions (PO’s)
  • Customer satisfaction - AWS Customer now involving AWS in developing MRO contract support to 2022


Case Study 1 - Design for Manufacture and Test (DfM/DfT)  |   Case Study 2 - Value Engineering (VA/VE)  |   Case Study 3 - Cost Reduction (Re-engineering)  |   Case Study 4 - Outsource of MRO (Complex Satellite System)  |   Case Study 5 - Road and Rail Repair Transfer (TUPE)  |   Case Study 6 - The Benefits of Outsourcing Repair Operations