Any OEM that works in the aerospace and defense industry understands that it’s a demanding and complex sector. Much like the medical device industry, it is a heavily regulated community with strict protocols and documentation.
That is why the ability to demonstrate traceability is a top priority when aerospace and defense OEMs are assessing potential EMS partners. With all military devices tied to government, every purchase, component, and product change has to be tracked and made available at any point.
So for contract manufacturers trying to play in this space, offering traceability is not so much a differentiator as it is a requirement. But just because any EMS provider can technically meet the documentation requirements doesn’t mean they all adhere to the same standards.
For example, when a contract manufacturer for a defense customer receives a part, they capture that information and record it into some kind of storing system, whether that is an Excel spreadsheet or paper copies filed away in boxes.
While there is no wrong way to provide traceability – you either do it or you don’t – there is something to be said about a contract manufacturer having a platform that can simplify and organize the process.
At Creation, we use the Vision Customer Portal, which provides all of our OEMs quality and supply chain data that can be easily accessed at any point. It is intuitive, robust and provides real-time information.
Recently, I caught up with Bruce Schallenberg, one of our Customer-Focused Team Leaders (CFTL) in Mississauga, who oversees a large defense OEM. He elaborated on the reasons why his customer trusts Creation and the Vision platform to manage all product traceability.
“Defense customers love the robustness of our Vision system. They like how thorough the platform is as far as compiling and tracking important data, but they also appreciate how simple it is to navigate. We have a very intuitive system with multiple hyperlinks, where you can pull up product and component history in a matter of seconds. And the fact that we can get reports out of it is a huge plus. I can put in a serial number for a part and click on it and it will show me all the serial numbers for that particular job. Even though they don’t always need that information, they just like the fact that they can put their fingers on that data if need be.”
“It’s the overall level of transparency that seems to resonate with military customers. Typically, they’re used to organizations who are slow and maybe non-responsive. Our combination of a customer focused team (CFT) and a detailed database, is an ideal model for them because they get a high level of responsiveness and they have peace of mind that they can pull data on any product or component at any time. In terms of monitoring quality and being able to deliver quality reports, I think we do that better than anyone.”
Something for Everyone
“The nice thing about Vision is that it appeals to all levels of an organization. The buyers like it because they have transparency and can have visibility on their orders. The engineers like it for the technical data they can extract. And the quality people like it to see the history of components used and any changes to the product. So really with Vision, they are getting access to a tool that allows them to access to different types of information throughout the product cycle that they would otherwise not have access to in any other organization. It definitely bodes well because it makes them more efficient.”
Creation is formally meeting the DFAR mandated NIST 800-171 requirements. Our Vision systems is providing the tight security of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) that the defense industry now demands. We’re currently engaged with a 3rd party consulting/auditing firm that is accessing our compliance to 800-171. Any gaps will be identified in a formal audit late September and corrective actions completed by Dec 31, 2017.