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R E Thompson & Co. (Vacuum) Ltd

Embedded Systems Heatsink Assembly

R E Thompson has supplied heatsinks to leading UK embedded systems manufacturers for many years.

During planned vendor reviews with the customer, the question was raised of long-term supplier sourcing. R E Thompson briefed the Senior Buyer about our Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) which run 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 364 days per year and explained how this enhances our ability to provide long-term, flexible supply at competitive prices.

The customer made R E Thompson aware that there are two programmes where heatsinks were being manufactured in Malaysia to benefit from Low Cost Economy (LCE) prices. The Senior Buyer stated that the long lead times from LCEs was proving a problem for meeting the company's requirement to meet ever changing customer demand. In addition the customer was exposed to the exchange rate fluctuation with the Malaysian Ringgit (closely tied to the US Dollar) which was a major concern to him.

Following a customer vendor review, it was clear that R E Thompson could supply the heatsink and would be able to respond within 3 to 4 weeks to ensure that changes to end-user demand could be met. This left the issue, or so the Buyer thought, of cost. The customer set cost targets at the meeting, not just to meet the existing LCE price, but to achieve a saving!

R E Thompson's Production Engineers were set the challenge of creating a manufacturing and assembly process which could deliver the heatsink to the customer at the price requested and... make a profit!   The time taken for each machine-tool operation and for each assembly stage was measured and reviewed to take out even seconds of cycle time; with 3,000 units to make per year, each minute saved was critical to the success of this challenge. 

Eventually, five weeks after the challenge was set, R E Thompson presented the proposal to the customer which was approved immediately. Given the long relationship between our company and the customer, no sample manufacture was required so an intial Purchase Order for 500 units was placed and timed to coincide with the final deliveries from Malaysia!