An in-house assembly and test facility designed and set up for Cambridge Broadband
Networks reduced costs and improved deliveries to customers, and was implemented
in just 13 weeks.
Cambridge Broadband Networks, a manufacturer of high performance microwave communications
systems, was producing over 150 variants of its core product to suit different customer
Many of the common subassemblies were produced by contract manufacturers in the UK
and China. It was difficult to transfer all manufacturing to China because of the
high mix, low quantity nature of many of the products. The company was suffering
from long lead times and a variable delivery performance.
Primilis was invited to analyse the company’s products and manufacturing strategy
and prepare a business case for buying modules and subassemblies from subcontractors
but undertaking final assembly and test, together with logistics and repair services,
We undertook a thorough review of how the product was built and tested and how the
many different variants were configured. We prepared a detailed assembly plan and
estimated the time, effort and costs. This allowed us to determine the number of
staff, and the space and equipment, needed.
We then prepared a detailed business plan which showed that in-house assembly was
highly cost effective. Not only could the 150 different variants be manufactured
cost-effectively and with greater agility in-house, but by adopting this approach
it would be possible to place large orders for a small number of subassembly variants,
making it viable to source these in China with a large cost saving.
The Board gave approval and we implemented the plan.
We identified suitable premises and negotiated a lease, designed the factory layout,
and recruited skilled staff to manage and operate the facility. We sourced furniture
and equipment, then fitted it out.
We also provided interim management of the facility until its permanent manager was
We went on to design and implement the manufacturing operations and material control
processes and tools required to assemble, test and ship the products to the highest
standards and to comply with ISO 9001.
Cambridge Broadband Networks’ in-house ‘configuration centre’ has proved itself -
it met the business plan on costs and timescales and produced high quality and cost-effective
products. The time taken from getting the go-ahead from the board, to being fully
operational, was just 13 weeks.
“Cambridge Broadband asked for Primilis’ helpto design and implement an assembly
facility without impacting the day-to-day running of our business. We weren’t disappointed,
they did everything we expected of them and the setting up of our Configuration Centre
was quick, effective, and on budget.”