SMS Electronics in Collaboration with UK Design-House SmartSentry


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Smart Made Simple (SMS) has joined forces with SmartSentry to offer an innovation acceleration service, to help customers to bring their products to market faster with economies of scale.

SMS currently adds front-end electronics manufacturing value via their dedicated Development Centre, a standalone business unit that supports customers’ needs for prototype, rapid build, and low volume manufacturing.  But, to enhance their front-end offering even further, they have partnered with SmartSentry, a design-house who specialise in turning ideas into reality using modular technologies.

SmartSentry interfaces with customers at the earliest stage of product creation, often when customer have thoughts rather than working prototypes. As SmartSentry collaborated creatively with a range of companies early in the development of new, innovative ideas, SMS leveraged these processes to rethink its own product and service offering, with the shared goal to compress the entire product lifecycle shortening the path from concept to creation, to customer to commercialisation.

Chris Snow, Technical Director, SmartSentry comments; “A partnership with SMS makes perfect sense to us, not just from a logistical perspective, as we are both based on the same site in Nottingham, but as their dedicated Development Centre compliments our offering greatly.”Both start-ups and established brands prefer for their design and development to be either in-house or within close proximity to their premises.  Cost reduction has been on the agenda for several years now, but even more so as we all get back to business in a post COVID-19 world. Many companies have financially benefited by outsourcing their design and development to reduce overheads inn this commercially conscious new world.

Companies naturally wish to keep close control of their intellectual property and may be wary of outsourcing the design.  However, this can often lead to delays getting to market and additional costs due to steep learning curves associated with rapidly advancing technologies plus the challenges presented by migrating from prototypes to high volume manufacturing.  This can be dramatically improved by taking advantage of the joint skill set provided by our offerings.  Our aim is to provide our customers with all necessary expertise to experience a seamless workflow moving from Concept to Production

Being able to link our customers to our design services, then move them along the production lifecycle into SMS’s dedicated Development Centre is a win/win. But, to enhance this even further, they have the possibility to literally move from seed to scale within SMS’s controlled, certified, and regulated manufacturing operations environment.

The benefit of our integrated partnership for our valued customers is that ability to remove complexity and make it as smart and simple as possible.”

Steven Blythe, Director of Sales and Marketing adds “This is a bit of thinking outside the box for us all, outside the context of traditional manufacturing relationships It is taking deep, broad capabilities and expertise we have built through both of our companies and turning that horizontal capability into vertical integration (VI).

We quantify how we take either cost or time, or both, out of products and engagements with our customers, so that we are bringing products to life as quickly as possible, reducing cycles of iteration, and getting from that initial idea or concept to something to scale as quickly as possible.

One of the things we think is unique about us is our ability to work at the incredibly early stage with a customer when they have an idea or concept and build out that concept through an infrastructure of creative engineering resources.

We have complemented that within our dedicated Development Centre that allows us to take that concept and build early-stage mock-up product, something that used to take upwards of 10 weeks, we are now doing consistently in five to six weeks, or sometimes even less in a rapid requirement. This means that we are getting feedback from our engineers as quickly as possible that we can present to our customer on the viability of their products.”

A good example of how the partnership benefits customers is a recent project undertaken with the UK Space Agency, where the initial phase required a rapid application of the design latest techniques and flexible interaction with the customer.  Then when moving to the manufacturing phase, the product received the protection of all the Quality Assurance and Standards Compliance measures necessary for a device that will be launched into orbit 

We are finding that Original Equipment Manufacturers are coming to us as they want our help to map them through the journey from seed to scale and beyond.  We recommend starting conversations early with our customers, a lot of time and money can be saved if you design your product for manufacture, that’s essentially repeatability (DFM).  We share lesson learnt with our customers throughout the wealth of experience we’ve gained independently, or via our collaborative model. It’s all about transparency for us, sharing the challenges that we’ve developed solutions for, helps our customers to understand where the design and development pitfalls are, helps them to avoid them and move forward quicker with an increased confidence in the process.

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