American Power Conversion Enters The Looking Glass


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Milford, Mass. — American Power Conversion (APC) has partnered with electronics manufacturing services (EMS) contract manufacturer Milford Manufacturing Services (MMS).

Through the relationship, APC expects significant time and cost savings benefits thanks to implementation of The Looking Glass — a virtual extended manufacturing environment portal that reportedly provides an end-to-end system of 24x7 access, control and collaboration between the two companies throughout the production line.

Like most OEMs operating in today's highly decentralized EMS environment, limited communication between APC and the company's outsourced EMS partners has made it increasingly difficult to manage and maintain control of the production process. Even in the preliminary stages of an order, APC is faced with the time-consuming process of transferring information to and from a contractor. The number of detailed documents that change hands often is an overwhelming amount of material to organize and track. Oftentimes, order processing is delayed while waiting for all parties' signatures and approval, and can be even further compromised when documents or e-mails get lost in the shuffle and have to be resent.

Meanwhile, limited access to data and information further along the production line has increased APC's reliance on EMS customer support to answer questions and provide updates on order status and engineering change orders. The result is slower information pass-through, less accurate knowledge transfer and ultimately, slower time-to-market.

After working with Milford Manufacturing Services for five months, APC has completed a number of successful projects using The Looking Glass portal to fulfill production needs for units assembly, as well as to support R&D in building prototypes and conducting pilot runs prior to production. APC now has a bird's eye view of what transpires along the production line, including what parts are on hand, which are on order, and when they are due.

An unexpected benefit is APC's capability to more effectively manage materials. With The Looking Glass, APC gains the added flexibility in forecasting and managing the materials pipeline, which not only alleviates inventory liability, but helps expedite and streamline the manufacturing process in general.

Milford Manufacturing Services is a world-class EMS contract manufacturer specializing in low-volume, high-mix production and new product development. For more information, visit www.milfordmfg.com.

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