Horizontal Integration & Industry 4.0

Christi Beck-Levicki Blog

project-management-5The second main characteristic of Industry 4.0 is horizontal integration via a new generation of global value chain networks. These networks are optimized networks that integrate customers and business partners, as well as new business and cooperation models across countries. Process chains become increasingly transparent and flexible. The process chain’s flexibility is vitally important when it comes to customer-specific adaptations. It is this same flexibility that allows process chains to dynamically handle enabling factors, like quality or risk, in real time.

Horizontal Integration is a key component for Saline Lectronics – as we have integrated our business partners, and have strong relationships with our vendors and suppliers. Our vendors are fully aware of our stringent requirements as well as our client’s expectations. Saline Lectronics also willingly shares information in order to enhance the final deliverables to customers.

We can point to our vendor, Cogiscan, as an example of horizontal integration. Saline Lectronics implemented Cogiscan’s “Track, Trace, and Control” system throughout the production facility in order to provide full transparency and advanced traceability data to the reference designator. This system also allows better visibility of materials and real-time data of work-in-progress. The Cogiscan partnership allowed Saline Lectronics to make dramatic operational efficiency improvements, which has greatly enhanced the quality of deliverables to customers.

Another vendor that we have embraced within the framework of horizontal integration is KIC. We implemented their RPI System for better management of our oven profiles. The RPI System gives Saline Lectronics better visibility of the PCB assembly temperatures when being processed through the oven versus just measuring the oven temperature. The RPI System also offers live virtual profiles for each PCB assembly and talks directly to the aforementioned Cogiscan system for enhanced factory integration. There are plans to expand our relationship with KIC, so that Saline Lectronics may stay on the forefront of any technological improvements, further delivering upon our promise of robust quality to our customers.

We have also taken on several other initiatives, including enhancing the strategic relationships between our material suppliers and clients. This allows Saline Lectronics to bring every “player” to the table in order to ensure that everyone has the same understanding and expectations of final deliverables. It has long been an industry standard to be more secretive about sharing supplier relationships. However at Saline Lectronics, we have found that transparency and the sharing of real-time data gives everyone a stake, eliminates unforeseen surprises, and has a positive impact on communication for long-term growth.