Time is money: We all know it, but only Sonic has turned this truth into an EMS business model. While others offer quick-turn proto and NPI services, these are typically managed as one-off requirements; using a spreadsheet for the materials and a “proto-line” off in the corner supported by an ad-hoc manufacturing team. Alternatively, prototyping and NPI is seen as an unprofitable marketing expense; a necessary evil for winning the production behind it. Not exactly the mindset for success.
Sonic runs a 85,000 s/f operation with 8 surface mount lines at ‘proto speed’: Proto, NPI and Production all move through the factory at “proto” speeds; and each manufacturing line is capable of any mix of small lot or recurring production. Speed is the business process. Everything runs through our standard, controlled business practices including MRP, Procurement, Quality, Inventory and Manufacturing.
Because of our speed, we can work with changes to your customer demand inside of lead time. We all know a forecast is less accurate in the long-term than in the near-term; so at Sonic we welcome collaborating on reschedules and dialing in the numbers inside lead time. In fact, the biggest improvement you can make to your forecast accuracy is to collapse your current “commit” horizon. With responsiveness inside lead time, your problems with demand planning, order fulfillment, revenue delay and excess inventory all melt away. No black-box forecasting model required! Need it JIT? Sonic delivers.
And what’s good for the customer is good for Sonic: Parts are cycled fast. Inventory is at minimum, work-in-process flows. Customers touring the factory are amazed at how clean and empty manufacturing looks while several hundred jobs and two million components are moving across the manufacturing floor. No pallets, box-stacks or bone-piles. If it’s in manufacturing, it’s being manufactured.
Yes, HAL is named after the self-aware computer that tried to kill Dave in the movie 2001 (‘Dave’ also being the vp of supply chain that developed the HAL system at Sonic). HAL monitors the accuracy of all the data at Sonic Manufacturing; fixing mistakes, updating records, transacting with suppliers and alerting individuals to take action. HAL is so interactive that suppliers have asked to meet with him… or take him to lunch.
For Sonic to move fast, HAL must move accurately. Accuracy is the key to success. So Sonic built a self-correcting database for fly-by-wire operations: With impeccably accurate data, mistakes and delays are seldom repeated and ‘rework’ goes away as an expense across all service organizations. For example, Sonic can go from the ‘sales order entry’ of assemblies to the receipt of the required components on the dock without human intervention.
HAL takes care of the routine & easy while forwarding the exceptions and difficult to our professional staff. Because our buyers, planners, managers and employees are not buried in the routine, they have time and capacity to deal with these exceptions; confident that the routine & easy is being taking care of by HAL.
For example, HAL will pre-scrub the MRP data, adjust the MRP results and communicate them directly to suppliers. Failing to get a timely or satisfactory response from suppliers; HAL will forward the action to the correct Sonic employee for resolution. Accountability? HAL sets a clock on open actions and management reviews this aging. HAL makes ecommerce work.
Ecommerce has enabled bad data to be shared faster than ever before… which explains why many companies are stalled on their ecommerce initiatives or have expensive manual processes to fix the daily exceptions generated by fundamentally flawed B2B systems. Sonics’ ecommerce has accurate data communicated accurately. HAL works with uncertainty of supply; using automated processes for the easy, automated processes for the difficult; and automated processes for managing the exceptions. Very few problems need hand-holding outside of these formal systems.
“HAL procures over 30 million parts per year;
spending millions of dollars with suppliers…
and does it all without human intervention.
This gives Sonic the speed to beat the competition in performance
and the efficiency to win on cost.”
-David Ginsberg, vp supply chain
Come on by to Sonic to see an American electronics factory that competes with the world on cost, and typically delivers in half the time of the competition. Ask to meet HAL; though he will probably pass on lunch.