The technology-driven global economy requires companies to be fast, efficient and adaptive. One of the key drivers is to be first to market with innovative products.
In the past, companies could afford to devote significant resources to developing and manufacturing their own products. Astute companies are, however, realising that by outsourcing this function to specialists, they are able to save time and money, reduce risk and improve product success rates. This in turn enables them to focus on their core business.
Manufacturing is a domain with inherent complexity and producing a product successfully takes more than just being able to place components on a printed circuit board. Producing a product within budget and on time requires an established supply chain, technical skills, experience and knowledge of industry best practice, not to mention significant investment in capital equipment. For this reason it is incumbent on company decision-makers to employ the deep domain expertise of contract manufacturing firms which have the experience, focus and investment to ensure economies of scale and quality product so that the necessary efficiencies are attained that ultimately increase customers’ margins and market share.
The manufacturing solutions offered by Tellumat Electronic Manufacturing can speed up time to market, lower total costs and improve asset and resource utilisation. “We offer a true full turnkey service based on quality, quick response, flexibility and a complete project management approach,” says Murison Kotzé, managing executive of the business unit. “As a result, Tellumat’s customers tend to be very loyal”.
Price is not cost
Kotzé is not overly concerned about the threat posed by so-called cheap Chinese manufacturers. “We offer a very viable alternative with a more comprehensive value proposition,” he says. “But remember that there is a difference between price and cost. The apparent savings expected from using the low 'price' options are often eroded as a consequence of high failure rates. And then you still have not factored in the costs of tying up capital for significant time, shipping costs, and the need to have someone senior and multiskilled in China, or flying them over regularly to check on matters.”
The right tools for the job
Tellumat offers the economies of scale and capabilities that enable it to compete on the world stage. The company has a 9000 square metre facility in Cape Town and continuously invests in manufacturing infrastructure to expand capacity and stay abreast of technological advancements.
The heart of the plant, the surface mount production lines, can place up to 70 000 components per hour. The facility employs 170 people whose average length of service is an astounding 20 years. “You cannot buy experience like that,” says Kotzé. In addition to this, Tellumat’s significant investment in its testing capability, including a comprehensive environmental test facility and a SANAS approved calibration laboratory, lends credence to its claim to being one of the few manufacturers in South Africa able to provide a true turnkey manufacturing service.
Evolution of a global player
In 2008, Tellumat celebrated its 10-year anniversary under its new name. Having started out making telephony systems for Telkom, the company today manufactures everything from high volume consumer products to complex military equipment, satellites and radar systems. With this differentiated approach, Tellumat caters for any type of customer – from small design houses prototyping new products to large multinationals with big volume runners.
Strategic investments in other manufacturing firms have resulted in a broadening of Tellumat’s manufacturing capabilities. An example of this is the acquisition of Rhomco in 2007 which added extra capacity, allowing it to service more diverse needs.
Recently, the manufacturing division gained global recognition when a UK manufacturing firm enlisted its help to ramp up its own production capacity. “Our reputation has begun to precede us,” says Kotzé. “It is a very good place for us to be as we take Tellumat into the next decade. We plan to continue growing as industry leaders in South Africa while also marketing our country as an electronics manufacturing destination of choice.”
In good company
Tellumat Electronic Manufacturing is an electronic assembly and manufacturing facility within the Tellumat Group of technology companies, which also has strong defence and telecoms interests. The division has won global recognition for its capacity, flexibility and expertise to provide services that range from ‘labour-only’ to true full turnkey solutions. Tellumat’s expertise is focused on complete system solutions for all levels of complexity, including prototyping, quick turnaround and volume production. It serves a wide range of markets including telecoms, military, aerospace, metering, security, industrial and medical. The company offers a full suite of design, manufacturing and post-manufacturing services, providing its customers with innovative and unique solutions that cover the whole life cycle of its product.