Major advantages can be achieved through the outsourcing of upstream logistics functions, such as kitting and assembly, for manufacturers. Providing kits and sub-assembled parts for specific points in assembly line production unlocks a slew of benefits.
Why outsource kitting as an OEM?
Allow your own production lines to focus on core high value assembly and manufacture activity, outsource simpler sub-assembly activity of discrete components, or modular parts, that can be plugged into the core assembly line activity. OEM personnel can be more efficient and focus on highly skilled, specialised assembly line tasks. It frees them from lower value, time consuming activity such as waiting for stock, locating tools and parts, and searching the storeroom. Headcount on the production line can be slimmed to essential, high skill personnel freeing space and overhead.
The advantages of kitting and assembly
Outsourcing these supply chain processes contributes to lean manufacturing with a real impact on ROI. Advantages to be gleaned include:
— pre-tested, quality assured parts built to exact client specification, outsourcing non-core assembly with tested sub-assembly of parts. - production lines can be redesigned for critical and complex assembly, with plug-in kitting and pre-assembled parts as part of a modular approach. - reduce coordination and supply issues with consolidated sourcing through a master supplier. - limit bill of materials (BOM) orders, request as one SKU, lower administration overhead. - kits and assembled parts are guaranteed complete, eliminate worry about delivery and coordination issues with component and parts supply managed and checked. - production line headcount slimmed, reduces personnel costs and overhead. - factory environment can be made more efficient and clean, no errant parts, packaging and excess material scattered around. - custom designed kitting packs allows quicker location of parts, easy (with the option of 'sequential') access and at-hand convenience. - sub-assembly of parts allows a more modular plug-in approach to manufacturing, allowing quicker swap in of upgraded, tested, quality-assured parts, with assembly off-site. - maximise limited factory floor space, if you have issues with current facility expansion, or simply need to free more space for core manufacturing cells, or production line use. - bundling parts together allows more efficient picking and packing, with less wastage and adds to sustainability efforts with less deliveries needed and less packing material.
Kitting and assembly: what's the difference?
Kitting is a service provided typically by a supply chain partner to pick, pack (and check) a range of components and parts (and possibly with additional tools) — whether specialised or generic — into a single product item. These kits are then 'ready-to-assemble', and can be ordered as a single SKU for inventory management purposes, streamlining BOM (bill of materials) requests and administrative overhead.
Assembly is the pre-fabrication of parts — typically off-site, in this context as a logistics and contract manufacturing service — that can be processed in a singular production cell away from the core production line. These sub-assembled parts can be plugged into the main manufacturing assembly process by highly skilled and trained OEM personnel. They are not only pre-assembled, but also pre-tested with a full QA process for a faster and more reliable install. These sub-assembled parts can be delivered as their own product or together in a a kitting pack.
Kitting and assembly is an excellent way to increase manufacturing reliability, efficiency, and reduce production line bottlenecks and delays.
3PL kitting and assembly
Third Party Logistics (3PL) bundles complementary services together which are perfect for OEMs that have placed a strategic importance on core manufacturing activity, wish to concentrate on a lean, optimised production line, and add value through core design and assembly processes.
To make this strategy work, the OEM manufacturer must identify and build a close working relationship with a trusted logistics partner and master supplier. The manufacturer can then outsource to the supply partner 3PL bundled services typically consisting of procurement, warehousing, kitting and assembly, packaging, distribution and inventory management.
Companies that utilise 3PL reporting it is a success: 93%.
Companies saying 3PL provides new and innovative logistics effectiveness: 75%.
Kitting and assembly can be offered as a service in it's own right, without full 3PL/4PL implementation, and is an accessible way to test contract manufacturing as a philosophy and service as part of an OEMs manufacturing process, through the outsourcing of simpler sub-assembled parts to a trusted supply chain/contract manufacturing partner.
Kitting in a warehouse and logistics company
Acorn's kitting and sub-assembly solutions can take away the difficulty and pain in managing your own internal kitting processes. No need to track down parts in store and check they are in stock. No need to deal with the replenishment process of pulled stock and the tracking of picking. No worries about obsolete stock or the quality of the inventory for kits.
Acorn has trained logistics personnel highly experienced in picking and packing, along with assembly and quality assurance activity in our ISO-certified work centre. With access in our specialised warehousing directly to specific client components, the kitting process benefits for having parts at hand, and being throughly tracked and audited with our optimised inventory, tracking and picking technologies.
We have experience in creating custom packaging of kits, along with quality assurance of finished kitting, for delivery to high technology and UK critical manufacturers who require mission critical components and precision machined parts. We can add sub-assembled parts within the kits for 'plug and play' fitting and modular assembly. These are processed and assembled in an ISO-certified kitting centre, colocated on-site with our warehouse facilities.
We have the ability to add tools within kits so they are ready for the task at hand and required production line assembly process. We can supply kits as part of our aftermarket service that contain the needed tools for efficient repair, refurbishment and maintenance of high value, long lifespan products.
How to find a kitting and assembly solution
Make sure you are working with a components and logistics supplier who has wrap-around service expertise, a diverse parts network and components range, can provide bespoke solutions tailored to your unique company needs, and values sustainability and provenance (to ensure you comply with CSR, sustainability, ethical and safety issues).
Acorn's service expertise and client portfolio means we have the capability to support OEM production and logistics needs from the beginning to end of the supply chain and along the full manufacturing process. We even work symbiotically with clients to add our area of expertise applied to your product design and assembly process (sometimes referred to as DfA — Design for Assembly) for further competitive advantage.
Learn about our kitting and assembly
Are you looking for kitting and assembly to augment your manufacturing capability? Explore Acorn's contract manufacturing, kitting and assembly services for your OEM business.