AWS Electronics Group introduces company-wide real time operational control system

Leading EMS company implements Industry 4.0 systems to deliver exemplary customer support

Worcester, UK - January 2015: AWS, one of Europe’s leading specialist contract electronics manufacturers, has announced that it has developed and implemented an updated real time control system at its manufacturing plants in the UK (Newcastle-under-Lyme) and Slovakia (Namestovo) to cover every aspect of its business at the two facilities. The £50,000 bespoke ERP system enables the company to monitor activities and provide immediate feedback to customers concerning their orders.

AWS CEO Paul Deehan comments: “Obviously we have had our ERP software in place for many years controlling and monitoring numerous activities within our business processes from receipt of orders through to despatch to customers. However, we have been working on our vision for full shopfloor control to supplement our current system for some while and we are now ready to enter the era of the Smart Factory – or Industry 4.0. We measure our manufacturing performance in real time, at all process stages and on all machines through real time scanning and operator sign off.”

The new fully integrated AWS Control System covers all key business processes from front end processing of enquiries, quotes, contract review and orders (including document control) through the manufacturing process with scanning route cards, work order tracking, with live ‘in process’ productivity, quality and test reporting. It has built in ‘fool-proofing’ so that operators cannot sign off jobs they are not trained for and jobs cannot go on to the next station having missed an operation. The system even controls Engineering Change Notifications (ECN) from whatever source - customer, supplier or internal.

Deehan continues:“We integrate the data that is generated within our business environment. process stage. For example, operator information is linked to that individual’s training skills matrix. In this way we can ensure that we have the right people, materials and resources in place to be able to meet the needs of our customers.”

AWS Control means that all key business processes are handled in exactly the same way, every time. This speeds up these activities, reduces errors and guarantees that actions are consistently performed, ensuring that quality and output are maintained at a very high level.

Collecting and monitoring real time information is vital. The following functions are key:

  • In-process quality pass levels
  • Test results
  • Productivity monitoring
  • Work orders tracked through batch production
  • Only trained operators (authorised) can pass onto the next stage
  • Batches cannot be moved onto next process without scanning confirming correct route if followed
  • Rework loops are part of the control process and all product is fully traceable.
  • Management has ‘visibility’ at any time in real time from any work station
  • Senior management can see the same information across two sites (UK & Slovakia)
  • Ultimately, customers can see live progress of the jobs across the stages from contract review, through build phases to pack and shipped dates

The system complteted live Beta testing in the UK and is now being fully rolled out to include the company’s Slovakian facility which – in every other respect – already mirrors the Newcastle-under-Lyme factory.

Concludes Deehan: “We are a technology-based company producing complex product assemblies for customers with very precise requirements. Therefore we need to have a real time picture of all our business operations so that we can continue to deliver excellence in service to all of our customers. The benefits are not only internal through improved efficiency and management control but also customers benefit from the improved quality of service - traceability, reduced manufacturing times, speed of response and continuous improvement programs. This helps AWS differentiate itself from many other EMS providers.”