The drive for energy efficiency – it’s smart made simple!

Author : Steven Blyth | Director of Sales & Marketing | SMS Electronics

01 September 2022

The past few years have presented plenty of challenges to the electronics manufacturing service (EMS) sector – from Brexit & the COVID-19 pandemic to chip & labour shortages, supply chain woes & logistical trials – and now the Russia-Ukraine war and fuel, energy & cost of living crises. One thing is certain, says Steven Blyth, Director of Sales & Marketing at EMS provider, SMS Electronics – what doesn’t break you, will indeed make you stronger…

A version of this viewpoint was originally featured in EPDT's H2 2022 Electronics Outsourcing supplement, included in the September 2022 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. And sign up to receive your own copy each month.

What this challenging period has also brought to the fore is the need for manufacturers to be smarter – and to make your supply chain journey from point A to point Z simpler. And making things smarter and simpler in a connected world demands data, data, data. This has been a common mantra from our OEM (original equipment manufacturer) customers during this time, for several reasons:

1. Transparency: our customers needed to understand component availability – and the impact on their production forecast schedule – on a daily basis. They needed to feel that this was being managed for them and that their requirements were being met. Clear, concise and honest communications regarding availability, lead times, allocation and, in some instances, even suggested re-designs to consider alternative component parts, with design for manufacture (DFM) in mind. All while remaining cost conscious.

2. Traceability: for the first time in almost two decades, we are having total landed cost (TLC) conversations again. Customers want to understand their full supply chain, their touchpoints, their costs and their risk profile. Many of our OEM customers are making the strategic decision to re-shore their manufacturing back to our UK base to reduce the risk of any offshore supply chain fragility.

3. Cost: it’s no secret that many organisations have had to face cost cutting measures, which is why they need their EMS partner to be able to clearly identify where in their production lifecycle they can reduce costs and waste. For SMS, this is where lean manufacturing plays an important role to identify processes for continuous improvement, streamlined efficiencies and effectively reduced overhead costs.

From concept to consumption

And these concerns are not relevant only to SMS Electronics and our client base. They are driven by wider technology and industry megatrends, as we all face the current fuel, energy and cost of living increases. Consumption and usage data needs to be presented and understood by both the business and the end-user or consumer.

For SMS, this has led to a spike in the manufacturing of smart and connected devices that are Internet of Things (IoT) linked. IoT tech tends to have embedded and software in-built features that can provide the user with information to enable them to make data-led decisions. Think about the energy smart meter in your home, and how you can utilise this device to understand your usage, which ultimately educates you on your consumption, enabling you to make more informed decisions to control your costs.

Now take the same principle outside of the home and apply it into organisations who can monitor their lighting, gas, electric, water and waste. Waste and the reduction of it being the end goal for many companies who prioritise their sustainability aims and objectives.

The need to conserve energy has resulted in another related tech and innovation spike in the manufacture of equipment that can help us in this pursuit. Electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS) appliances fitted with solar panel extensions, and products designed and developed with battery life in mind, to name but a few.

And it tends to be, as history has shown us time and time again, as we join forces to ‘fight the good fight’ against rising fuel and energy costs and the cost-of-living crisis, this is when ground-breaking answers present themselves. This is when our OEM research & development teams thrive to solve the grand challenges and social, environmental, technological and economic problems that face us all with innovative smart solutions.

If you’d like to learn more about how your EMS provider can help you to design energy efficiency into your product concept, then contact SMS Electronics – it’s Smart Made Simple!

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