Avnet, others address need for greater transparency in outsourced manufacturing operations

Outsourced manufacturing paired with extended value chains in fast-moving markets is a recipe for complex management challenges. Add lean to the value chain mix and more complexity will surface: inventory optimization at every step, to balance lean with replenishment order planning (ROP) and ensure coordinated responsiveness to the OEM.


Outsourced manufacturing paired with extended value chains in fast-moving markets is a recipe for complex management challenges. Add lean to the value chain mix and more complexity will surface: inventory optimization at every step, to balance lean with replenishment order planning (ROP) and ensure coordinated responsiveness to the OEM.

“Existing ERP and supply chain planning tools do not adequately address the challenges faced by companies that are outsourcing manufacturing,” says Robert Gunn, senior VP of Serus , a supplier of intelligent operations management solutions.

“We began with a focus on the semiconductor and high-tech verticals, where the market life cycles are accelerating,” continues Gunn, adding that Serus company founders saw an opportunity to deliver a new class of software that would overcome the limitations of the ubiquitous tool used by most companies: spreadsheets.

“Our solution provides multiple data source integration, inventory visibility, and end-to-end process collaboration across the value chain,” says Gunn.

Robert Parker, research director for Framingham, Mass.-based IDC Manufacturing Insights , concedes the need for such a solution.

“Serus focused on an industry where there was a 'burning platform' need—a high sense of urgency for visibility into dispersed operational processes across a broad supplier network,” says Parker. “An intelligent operations management solution organizes underlying data from multiple sources and puts it in context where you can monitor dispersed operations, quickly perform analysis, and take action,” he says.

It was exactly the type of solution that Avnet , a Phoenix-based global distribution company, needed for compliance with a directive from one of its major customers: a global Tier 1 OEM that was transitioning to lean and challenged its suppliers do so as well.

Barbara Paulsen, Avnet electronics marketing director, says the Serus intelligent
operations management solution enables Avnet to collaborate with both contract electronics manufacturers and the OEM
in coordinating inventory management in sync with the aggregated demand of the entire supply chain.

“When evaluating the available sources that could support our OEM's needs while providing the automation that Avnet required, we selected Serus as our software provider,” says Barbara Paulsen, Avnet Electronics Marketing (EM) director of global business management.

Avnet EM supplies programmed components to contract electronic manufacturers (CEM) that build to the OEM's demand, and to OEMs themselves. Avnet EM also delivers supply chain and design chain services in support of the products it sells.

Serus enables Avnet to collaborate with both the CEM and the OEM to coordinate inventory management in sync with the aggregated demand of the entire supply chain while simultaneously adhering to lean requirements and meeting its obligation of 99.9-percent service levels to the OEM.

Using Serus, Avnet disaggregates total component demand into the appropriate subcategories it needs to manage the value-added step of component programming it performs, applying different program sets to the raw component in the correct volume to meet the overall order. Then the system reaggregates it all properly to provide visibility to its partners.

“Serus enables us to accurately establish the replenishment size that triggers lean inventory management,” Paulsen says, adding that Avnet uses the solution to consider various sizing alternatives and determine which provides the best overall value. Calculations can be tied to either past consumption history or forecast, or both.

“We now have a tool at our fingertips to consider the impact of variables before we push the button to reorder,” Paulsen says, adding that productivity improvements on Paulsen's staff have been significant in moving to a fully automated planning solution%%MDASSML%%including eliminating the eight hours per week formerly required to manually manage the data.

“Productivity improvement has been amazing,” she concludes.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
The future of electrical safety; Four keys to RPM success; Picking the right weld fume option
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
VFDs improving motion control applications; Powering automation and IIoT wirelessly; Connecting the dots
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me