Calne, United Kingdom—May 22, 2012—eXception Group, a printed circuit board and contract electronics manufacturer, together with fire detection solutions manufacturer, Apollo Fire Detectors Ltd. developed a supply chain solution that resulted in increased service levels and reduce costs for the company.
As a result of their partnership, the developed lean supply chain process significantly improved delivery and supply of eXception Group’s 4.8m circuit boards to Apollo.
“EXception is a critical supplier, they supply us with a component which is fundamental to our products,” said Tim Coletta, Supply Chain Manager, Apollo. “With all our products manufactured in the UK for delivery to subsidiaries all over the globe, this predicates the need for good suppliers. Having worked with eXception for over eight years, we knew that they had the potential to meet the challenge we set them to increase efficiencies and deliver a service that met the needs of our improved operation.”
EXception Group made significant changes to working practices and devised a new methodology that reduced stock levels, increased visibility and saw on-time deliveries rise from 96.7 percent to 99.8 percent in less than a year.
Recently embarking on a change management program in a bid to continue to achieve desired growth, Apollo implemented an efficiency drive that would allow it to have a leaner, more cost-effective supply chain. Relying heavily on a roster of 150 preferred suppliers (of which eXception Group is within the top three) it needed to bring each supplier into line as quickly as possible.
“EXception met our needs in every way,” continued Coletta. “Within the organization they are now known as a ‘whisper account’ which means our buying personnel spend the maximum of 15 minutes each week over the phone. It’s seamless, we have deliveries twice a week, hold far less stock and are able to quickly and seamlessly respond to spikes in demand. As such, our risk exposure has reduced significantly. We now have in place World class policies and procedures that we will continue to replicate with other preferred suppliers.”
Steven Healings, Supply Chain Director at eXception Group felt confident the company could match the high standards set by Apollo. “In any business relationship it is essential that suppliers listen to their customers and understand their key business drivers, and fundamentally be prepared to adapt their own process to meet new challenges,” he said.
Adoption of the new policies and methodologies reduced the administration time spent by both Apollo and eXception in purchase order placement, acknowledgement, reschedule and cancellations. This in turn freed eXception to manage Apollo’s supply chain far more efficiently—including ordering in large batches; fewer purchase orders placed; a significant reduction in changes to purchase orders; and the use of low cost logistics solutions. As a result, a large amount of the “fire fighting” approach to program or product changes was taken out of the supply chain processes. eXception has also been able to meet Apollo’s cost reduction challenges, while improving stock availability and flexibility.