Home: November 2006 › Manufacturing services excellence
Manufacturing services excellence
30/11/2006 | Channel:
Incap designs and manufactures electronic and mechanical components and products for customers in a wide variety of industries
Combining electronics and mechanical engineering, Incap is a Finnish-based contract manufacturer that provides complete life cycle solutions to a wide customer base. Through design, prototyping, PCB assembly, sheet metal fabrication, assembly, product integration, testing, logistics and maintenance, the company works in cooperation with clients to ensure that it provides a flexible, economical and high quality manufacturing service.
“One of our competitive edges is that we have both electronic and mechanic manufacturing,” says corporate communications and investor relations director,Hannele Pöllä. “Many of our competitors have one or the other, but you can see in many products that you need the supporting structures to accompany the electronics.”
Taking an active role in its customers’ value chains, Incap’s comprehensive solutions have helped clients create successful projects across a diverse range of international markets. “Our customer base is quite balanced, so that we are not just serving the
telecommunications or industrial electronics industries,” explains Hannele. “We also work with businesses in the electrical power technology, healthcare, security electronics and automation markets, with clients including Nokia Networks, Tellabs, GE Healthcare, Rapiscan Systems, ABB and Assa Abloy.”
Incap was formed in 1985 as a group consisting of many small companies. By 1997 it was reorganised into two companies in contract manufacturing, before the furniture contract manufacturing division was sold off in 2002, allowing the business to solely focus on electronics and mechanics.
Today, Incap has manufacturing facilities in Finland and Estonia, with a few sales offices and agencies. The move into Estonia came in 2000, as the company opened its first electronics manufacturing facility outside of Finland, and the success of this has led to the addition of a new 3700 square-metre plant in the area. Commenting on the move,Hannele says: “Opened in July, the new factory has trebled our manufacturing size in Estonia, and because of this new facility we are able to offer our services more efficiently to our European customers.”
To ensure that the company takes advantage of its greater size, more emphasis is put on the materials management. After the appointment of Liam Kenny as VP Materials and Logistics, a new materials strategy has been created to separate the roles of strategic management and tactical execution. The strategic management group has been developed to establish corporate based contracts, while it also aides in monitoring performance, developing relationships and reducing risks, allowing the plants to focus on achieving excellence in tactical issues, such as customer support and order management.
Commenting on the development, Hannele says: “Previously we tended to make purchases for each manufacturing unit, so this strategic group has given us added negotiating power, while it has also helped us to offer faster, reliable quotations.”
Using a combination of local and global suppliers together with distributors from across Europe and Asia, the company's supply chain also benefits from and aims to develop long-standing relationships. “We aim for long-term agreements,” explains Hannele. “In this way close relationship and trust building ensure the best terms and logistics service for us and our customers.”
Alongside this focus on supplier relationships,Hannele says that the company has also been looking to improve the efficiency of its own facilities: “We are developing our operations very intensively, looking at our costs and ways of operation to boost the internal efficiency of our manufacturing, so that we are even more competitive in terms of price and delivery time.”
While looking to improve the efficiency of its operation, Incap has also been investing in two new SMD assembly lines to improve its service offering. Including a paste printing machine, two Siemens component placement machines, a solder reflow oven and automatic optical inspection device, the lines have been installed in Estonia and Finland.
Commenting on this period of intense investment,Hannele says: “We have so far
invested nine per cent of our revenue this year, increasing our capacity and modernising our processes.With most of the important developments now made, we do not expect this rate to be as high next year, although we will ensure that we grow to meet the demands of our customers.”
Describing the future of the industry, Hannele continues: “Some research institutes estimate that electronics manufacturing services will grow by ten per cent on an annual basis until 2010, and with outsourcing increasing, combined with our low cost
manufacturing capacity in Estonia, we are an attractive prospect to customers in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.
“We have very challenging internal targets for the future, and are seeking strong growth across Europe.We also hope to expand our operations into Asia so that we become a truly global partner to our present customers.”
With a focus on operational efficiency, Incap offers an electronics and mechanics
manufacturing service that puts its customers first. The opening of a new Estonian plant, which has the potential to be doubled in size, combined with the establishment of a strategic management group and investment in new SMD lines, signals the company’s strong future intent, as it looks to extend its influence in Europe and beyond.