MF Case Study #019:

Trusting Your Electronics Manufacturer through High Volume Production

Kinetic’s REFLEX is a wearable device to help reduce back injuries in the workforce.
Kinetic began working with MacroFab on prototypes and low-volume runs two years ago and continues to trust MacroFab through their growth.

Get to know the work:

The Kinetic REFLEX is a wearable device that is part of a connected workforce. It alerts users when they are improperly lifting, and includes a dashboard for management to effect small changes on the floor to reduce injuries. Two years ago, Kinetic began using our platform for hundreds of their prototype runs. Because of the consistent communication and excellent customer service they receive, Kinetic is now producing tens of thousands of their devices and charging stations with MacroFab.

 

kinetic reflex device

Assessment

When a business is starting small, it is difficult to get many overseas manufacturers to care about a product, especially at 100-200 units, but MacroFab’s platform made it easy to get started, without having to speak to a sales rep. Matt, the lead Electrical Engineer for Kinetic loves using our platform because he can upload all of his Gerber files, inspect every layer and easily approve parts placement. This makes it easy to test new designs and quickly prototype.

Once prototypes were finalized, Kinetic needed to be able to quickly scale to higher volumes without delay. Working with MacroFab’s account management team for custom quotes and project management was one of the easiest experiences they’ve encountered in manufacturing.

Challenge

Finding a manufacturer that you trust is important because chances are, they will not be located near your operations and it’s not easy to hop on a plane to walk the line for each new stage of manufacturing, especially a 15-hour flight. A CM that instills confidence in the quality and integrity of their operations and boards is invaluable, and finding one that is located only a few hours away is an added bonus.

A product that’s difficult to assemble can result in mistakes being made at the production level. MacroFab provides direct feedback on your manufacturing and box build so you can improve designs for manufacturing. Getting direct feedback from your manufacturer allows you to quickly change a design early on to make manufacturing easier so that your product gets delivered as quickly as possible.

Process

Having complete control and being able to see all files and the BoM in one place saved so much time for Matt because he didn’t have to wait weeks for a sales rep to get back to him. Viewing an instant quote on assembly was also a really nice feature for them early on in their process.

Jeff, the Director of Manufacturing likes that there is only a one-hour time difference between us, so communication is much easier and flying here to walk the line is more manageable than traveling overseas. Jeff admires that our manufacturing floor is empowered to provide feedback on box build assembly. This allows Kinetic to make design adjustments quickly so that production assembly is as efficient as possible.

There is a view that it’s a partnership and we’re working together to achieve our goals. It extends down the line, the group of people working the assembly line are really friendly and eager to give you advice, and that’s been really helpful. — Jeff, Director of Manufacturing, Kinetic
trust your contract manufacturer

Our Solution

Continual feedback, flexibility and excellent customer service are the cornerstones upon which MacroFab and Kinetic have built their relationship. Growing companies like Kinetic begin to experience new sets of challenges with higher volumes of manufacturing including, maintaining inventory, negotiating with suppliers and balancing lead times with production schedules. Putting trust in MacroFab to help manage this workflow has made all of the difference in their company’s success.

The Kinetic team loves that everyone on our team is empowered to provide feedback on their designs. As Kinetic grows their business, they continue to count on MacroFab for all PCB assembly, box build, and product management to achieve their goals, serving new and repeat customers.

The biggest benefit of working with MacroFab is growing the business through your services. We were able to start small and quickly figure out issues. Now we are ordering 10x what we were two years ago. — Matt, Lead EE, Kinetic
box build macrofab

Summary

As companies scale their growth, it’s important to carefully consider the product and enclosure design as it goes into higher volume production. Difficult assembly procedures can result in mistakes being made on the production line as volumes increase. Because we are in constant communication with Kinetic either remotely or directly when they are here walking the line, they put all of their trust in our operations and know that we will give them valuable feedback when we see room for improvements so they can be more successful.

Designing something that’s easy to manufacture speeds up the manufacturing process so you can serve customers better. A design that’s difficult to assemble could result in quality issues, delays in getting to market or RMAs once they hit your customers’ hands. Relying on your CM for feedback on design improvements can save your company thousands of dollars in rework. 

Ready for better manufacturing?