It’s Smart Made Simple
Based in Nottingham, Smart Made Simple (SMS) serves high-tech customers based mainly in the UK with UK markets. Their market sectors include industrial, medical, space, security, transportation, communication and gaming. Their clients range from established companies to start-up ventures.
Andy Elms Explains How It’s Done
In the following interview, Andy Elms, Operations Director at SMS, discusses how his company manages to not only compete in these challenging times, but thrive.
“Essentially, I oversee day-to-day operations for SMS, from material in feed to delivering the finished goods to our customers at the agreed quality level and on time. I have over twenty years of leadership experience in high-tech manufacturing and aftermarket product repair and refurbishment services for Tier I organisations.
Prior to joining SMS, I had spent the majority of my career working overseas for electronics contract manufacturing companies, in Central Europe, Asia and in the Middle East. That has given me insight into how Tier I and the Tier II companies manage their business, and I’ve been able to bring that expertise and best practices to SMS.
My main responsibility is for all thing’s “operations” including, but not exclusive to manufacturing, engineering, quality control, material management, employee H&S, facility management and Lean continuous improvement projects. My strategic focus is to further streamline the SMS operations by implementing efficiency, process and quality improvements where required.
I’m passionate about building, growing and improving key customer accounts by empowering teams through coaching, mentoring, driving a culture of continuous improvement and implementing best practices at all levels of a company’s organisation.
In the past couple of years, we have been carefully selecting and hiring the ‘right fit’ talent to support our mission to grow the company in the direction that we have set. We have, in my opinion, excellent onboarding processes. So, when we do hire new employees, everyone passes through our Company Induction Training and various Training Modules that support and compliment their new role.
So, we have the best people who are not only capable, but given the best opportunity for success, which is significant to our SMS growth.
We have a very broad product and customer mix to manage, and at the same time we must also maintain the ability to be flexible. I personally believe the foundation to our success, in this competitive industry, is through strategic planning, follow up and effective communication. Our ‘daily’ production meetings have clear objectives where we measure previous day results, present day status and the outlook for the days ahead. These meetings are brief, structured and KPI driven (Key Performance Indicators), it’s a platform that promotes cross team participation where everyone feels included and accountable.
Every product that is manufactured in our facility is given a unique serial number. This allows us to ‘force route’ the product through preselected process steps, so that we always know its current location and where in needs to go next. Our track and trace controls provide us with a record as to where that product has been, what was added, who touched it and when.
“Lean for me”, is about identifying waste and driving a culture of continuous improvement throughout our business. I enjoy being in a company where I can influence change, and it's extremely rewarding seeing our employees buying into our various Lean initiatives.
In SMS we have a full suite of service capability offerings. We begin to add value at what we call the early engagement phase, and earlier the better! This is where we support our customer technical teams with Design for Manufacturing expertise, rapid Product Prototyping and New Product Introductions (NPI) services. Our open-door policy allows instant customer access into our technical experts, our kit and the manufacturing floor.
This phase is often followed by Volume Manufacturing. We have an extremely high product mix, and we specialise in low-medium volume Assembly of Printed Circuit Boards, Sub-Assemblies and Final System Assemblies, Software configuration and Test.
Our Aftermarket Care services help to prolong the life cycle of each product that we assemble, which in turn helps to protect our customers brand name. Under the umbrella of Aftermarket care we have product repair, upgrade, refurbishment and recycling solutions that can be tailored to our customers needs, and to their customers needs’’
Watch our short video with Andy Elms where he explains why technology companies make the Smart and Simple decision to come to SMS - https://youtu.be/JfZJjlmZbas.