We have amassed a great deal of experience in selecting manufacturing partners, including
this example of helping a company to transfer to a larger contract manufacturer in
order to reduce risk and cost.
A start-up company had developed a sophisticated and innovative electronic monitoring
system for use by Government and the private sector.
Components and prototypes of the equipment had been produced by several small contract
A large scale trial had been arranged by the company’s main customer, in which the
system would be compared with its competitors. As the trial date approached the company
became concerned about the commercial implication of delays or equipment failure.
Tom Gaskell‡ helped the company make sure it would get to production on time and
with high quality by auditing the current manufacturing partners; his audit found
the manufacturers to be costly and to present a high risk because of capacity, expertise
or process shortcomings. They would also have required a great deal of coordination
and management time from the company.
To achieve significant risk reduction, and to reduce cost of the product, he selected
a larger and more suitable contract manufacturer for all the manufacturing work and
advised how the two companies should set up their working arrangements and processes.
He was then asked to supervise the New Product Introduction into manufacture of the
system over the subsequent weeks to make sure that unseen problems or risks did not
The manufacturing was successful, the trial went well, and the company and its manufacturer
have continued to produce the system which has become the market leader.