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LPRS improves competitiveness of its Wireless Modules with UK outsourcing of Procurement and Manufacturing

Mon, 10/03/2011 - 12:22pm
LPRS e-RA wireless transcieverWith the launch of its third generation of market leading wireless modules, easyRadio Advanced (eRA), LPRS has undertaken a complete review of the product’s cost base, from manufacturing to marketing.

“easyRadio is the Jewell in our crown.” says John Sharples, Managing Director of LPRS.”And with the sales growth we have been experiencing this year we have had to dedicate considerable resources into ensuring we get competitive, reliable component supplies and on time production of top quality wireless modules ”

Managing the procurement, logistics and manufacturing has required a purchasing specialist in the LPRS team, reducing manpower available for development, sales and technical support. “One of the keys to our success is customer support” continues Sharples “and in order to invest in this and more aggressive new product development we had to find a more efficient way to run our business.”

From his recent background John Sharples is conversant with the benefits of outsourcing and a project was set up to determine if the complete procurement and manufacturing process could be outsourced, allowing LPRS to invest further in product development and support. Manufacturing wireless modules requires a high level of competency and prospective CEM’s in Asia, Eastern Europe and the UK were evaluated. Asia was eliminated on security and logistical grounds and the search intensified in Europe.

Visiting the Southern Manufacturing exhibition this year Sharples was impressed with the enthusiasm and range of the UK manufacturers on show and met the team from Danlers contract electronics manufacturing. Impressed with the capabilities on offer and after visiting their facility in Chippenham an agreement was reached with Danlers to manufacture LPRS’s easyRadio products. Kevin Johnstone, Operations Manager for Danlers comments;”At Danlers we have invested in state of the art manufacturing lines allowing us to change products being manufactured within twenty minutes. This degree of flexibility is idea for customers such as LPRS who have low product volumes. Our quality is second to none and everything from prototypes and pre-production units to full production runs are produced on the same machines to ensure our customer’s requirements are met in full.”

LPRS’s quest for outsourced procurement was made somewhat simpler by their existing relationship with Lewmax Programming who have been programming easyRadio PIC’s for a number of years. Lewmax is a division of Transonics, a long established distributor of electronic components. Transonics services include customised design solutions, dedicated buffer stock, consignment stocking, and Kanban order schedules as well as device programming, laser oblation and technical support. They were very pleased to join LPRS in this project and have provided LPRS with a full procurement and kitting service while their greater buying power has improved security of supply and offers highly competitive component sourcing.

Daniel French, Managing Director of Transonics, comments;” We believe that manufacturing in the UK makes more and more sense. Too many OEMs overlook the fact that energy costs here and in Asia are now the same, labour rates are reaching parity and shipping and logistics costs will continue to increase. With wise investment in manufacturing equipment and smart procurement manufacturing in the UK makes good sense. It also brings the added benefit of better quality control, reduces the risks of counterfeiting and theft of intellectual property and improves manufacturing flexibility.”

Transonics offers LPRS access to components and suppliers that were previously unavailable to them, secure supply and proactive input into component selection through their wider product and supplier knowledge. French concludes;”Our proposition is not difficult to sell and most OEMs we work with soon realise the wider benefits of manufacturing in the UK.”

John Sharples sums up;”Our search for partners to ensure LPRS is positioned for sustainable growth and flexible manufacturing has imposed new disciplines on our own processes, freed up valuable internal resources and laid the foundations of a great team, with LPRS, Transonics and Danlers having a shared vision for manufacturing competitive, world class products in the UK”.

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