Logistics – the fastest growing service industry of the new millennium — involves the flow of products, both outbound and inbound, between a company and its customers. Long overlooked as an important business function, logistics is now recognized as one of the essential “must win” battlegrounds between a company and its competitors. Critical factors are speed, accuracy, responsiveness, and cost.
Regrettably, the “logistical services” offering of most suppliers to the EMS middle market begins and ends with the shipment of just-finished PCB subassemblies to their customers’ receiving docks. They make the mistaken assumption that “logistics” is just a fancy word for “shipping”, and in so doing they fall painfully short of helping their customers compete in the modern world.
In contrast, AMI offers a full complement of cutting edge logistical services, and has done so for more than a decade. These services, introduced below and detailed elsewhere, provide unique and high value added follow-through for AMI’s materials and manufacturing services.
Vendor Managed Inventory: The essential prerequisite for an effective logistical services program is the presence of the right finished goods inventory in the right quantities at the right time. For participating customers AMI maintains finished goods inventory in agreed upon product mixes and equivalent to about one month of each customer’s product sales.
Order Fulfillment and Distribution: AMI regularly fulfills orders on behalf of its customers, mostly to its customers’ customers, but also to its customers’ distribution centers. Orders range from a single unit to several skids of multiple products. Most such orders are received and fulfilled in real time on AMI’s customers’ ERP systems via AMI-based terminals with restricted remote access to those systems.
Repair, Upgrade, and Recall Services: The centerpiece of AMI’s “reverse” logistical services is its portfolio of expert repair, upgrade, and recall services. These services are supported by a robust and customer specific RMA process and by dedicated teams of test, diagnostic, and repair technicians, who are all trained to and proficient in applicable IPC Class III workmanship standards. Note also that AMI’s repair, upgrade, and recall services apply to its customers’ full and complete upper level products, as opposed to only their associated PCB subassemblies.
Warranty Management: Rounding out its logistical services, AMI’s warranty management service helps its customers solidify and cement their customer relationships. This service is strategically integrated with AMI’s test and diagnosis center, its repair services, and its field replacement and asset recovery programs. Keys to success are an expert cadre of program managers and a well established RMA reporting and tracking process with customer-specific decision points for warranty and non-warranty returns. Important outputs are annotated diagnostic reports that attack root cause by supporting design and process improvements that increase product reliability, thereby driving down the number and expense of warranty returns.
AMI, with a full complement of cutting edge logistical services, is the right size and the best choice for the EMS middle market.