Growth amidst supply chain and staffing challenges
EP&T MagazineElectronics Contract Manufacturing Engineering Supply Chain CEM contract manufacturing Editor Pick
Dorigo Systems endures challenges driven by the pandemic
There has been a lot of talk about how to put in place protocols and procedures to make the electronics manufacturing process resilient to supply chain disruptions. We are all aware of the strain and challenge that global supply chain issues are creating for the electronics manufacturing industry.
Is there a way to work within the given constraints to survive and thrive? This is a question that all contract manufacturers are seeking to answer.
Dorigo Systems Ltd., of Burnaby, BC, has faced supply chain management issues since the start of the pandemic. The company had just opened a new world-class facility in 2020 when everything in the electronics manufacturing world changed.
Balancing Dorigo’s need to continue to operate efficiently, while delivering on customer timelines was almost impossible. Learning how to pivot and respond to this rapidly changing work environment required quick thinking by management and taking a customer-first approach to find solutions.
Today, Dorigo is experiencing a 38% growth year-over-year in booking backlog which is well ahead of the North American EMS industry standard. The company has increased capacity by adding an evening work shift, which has expanded its production workforce by over 40% despite the ongoing labour supply challenges seen across all industries in North America. When faced with the reality of supply chain constraints, the organization worked together to view things differently.
Rethinking supply chain
Dorigo Systems is an electronics manufacturer who understands how upfront collaboration is key to bringing innovative products to market. Since 1988, the company has used Design for Manufacturability (DFM) advice to ensure their customers’ product design is optimized to be manufactured efficiently right from the start.
“Customers place trust in us. From compliance to reliability and testing, our engineering team’s DFM process is a vital part of Dorigo’s effort to provide a Seamless Customer Experience,” says Mark Pillon, P.Eng., president and founder at Dorigo Systems. “Today’s disruptive supply chain is making us rethink how we provide transparency to our customers while sustainably manufacturing their products.”
Just a couple of years ago, supply chain management meant finding the best price for components and running lean. That’s not the case today, as any component may turn out to be a “golden screw” whose absence can stall a production build and delay the manufacturing process. Lead time estimates from suppliers are unreliable. Costs are rapidly increasing as demand backlog accumulates.
“Our team has a willingness to go above and beyond to source parts in order to be a partner in the manufacturing process for our customers,” says Danial Arooj, P.Eng. and manufacturing manager at Dorigo. “We’ve had to go outside of our traditional part supplier networks to source parts. Our focus is to always put quality first. Our reputation as a high quality, high mix, low volume manufacturer enables us to build First Article boards in small quantities prior to starting main production runs. We are happy to do this so our customers can validate these parts for quality assurance.”
There is also no doubt that having a supplier or manufacturer nearby is beneficial during these uncertain times. For many of Dorigo’s customers, being able to go onsite to view boards being manufactured vastly reduces the time between iterations.
“Near-shoring” means customers don’t need to wait weeks to receive prototypes from overseas to see if they meet the required specifications. Customers are encouraged to be on-site at Dorigo to enable instant feedback on First Article builds. Working with local suppliers promotes a more dynamic and collaborative manufacturing experience for customers.
Design for excellence
For Dorigo, minimizing supply chain disruption and achieving a competitive advantage relies on having a multi-faceted procurement approach from scouring regional markets, securing strategic parts, or accessing excess inventory – to name a few. Their long-term presence and connections within the industry makes a difference in building resilience in the manufacturing process.
Design for Procurement is now a part of Dorigo’s manufacturing engineering process through a product’s lifecycle. “Inventory is a critical asset in manufacturing any product; without having every item available in stock creates a liability,” states Aimee Jo Milendres, procurement and customer experience manager, Dorigo Systems. “We view planning and procurement as being fundamental for us to successfully deliver our electronics manufacturing services.”
Dorigo’s team strives to find the “golden screw” as early as possible and work with customers to look at alternatives. Having options for components can make a product more sustainable over its life cycle. The “golden screw” term typically refers to the normally inexpensive part whose critical absence means that it may as well be made of gold.
“Dorigo’s customer experience teams connect customers with suppliers to build a stronger supply chain. It is changing the dynamics between Dorigo and its customers by promoting higher levels of collaboration,” says Milendres.
“We believe this approach is designing for excellence,” Milendres continues. “We must look deeper into each issue in the supply chain that may prevent a customer’s product from successfully getting to market. Products with longer supply chains require investigation and assessment of all supply chain factors that affect accessibility, quality, and repeatability.”
Growth during challenging times
Supply chain issues across the electronics industry continue to pose challenges for Dorigo and many of its customers. Despite these ongoing challenges, the company is continuing to grow and expand due to its commitment to providing a seamless customer experience and delivering high levels of collaboration and transparency in the manufacturing process.
“Putting our team’s safety and needs first has always been the most important step we have taken in growing our business and navigating the pandemic,” states Pillon. “Looking towards the future, keeping communication clear and transparent with our customers ensures whatever new disruption occurs in our ecosystem, Dorigo Systems has the agility and resilience to respond.”
Working with some of the most respected OEM’s in the industry, Dorigo Systems continues to see strong demand from customers coming out of the pandemic. “Our book-to-bill ratio is 1.28 which is an indicator that demand is outpacing supply,” confirms Pillon.
Today, Dorigo is in the process of acquiring new capital equipment to extend its production and inspection capabilities. With the acquisition of this new equipment, Dorigo is continuing to hire new staff and invest in valuable training for all staff members so that they can be effective in their positions. Building redundancy across all resources is a key step to creating the required resilience.
“We are in a business that has a fine balance between people, process and technology,” states Mark Pillon. “I believe in always taking a people first approach. It’s reflective in all that we do as an organization to grow and thrive.”
This article was written and submitted by Dorigo Systems Ltd., a Burnaby BC-based full, turn-key contract electronics manufacturer.