ASM’s SMT Solutions segment, the technology leader for machines and solutions for the electronic manufacturing industry, has won the 2018 Factory of the Year/Global Excellence in Operations (GEO) Award in the Excellent Production Network category. The benchmarking award, which has been sponsored since 1992 by Produktion magazine and consultancy A.T. Kearney, is one of the most coveted honors for manufacturing companies. After 2012 and 2016, this is the third time ASM has won the Factory of the Year award. This time, the panel of judges recognized especially the high level of common standards within ASM’s global production network with its plants in Munich, Weymouth, Singapore, and Malaysia. The awards will be officially presented during the Factory of the Year Congress, which will be held March 20-22 in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
The benchmarking for the Factory of the Year awards ranges from extensive questionnaires on more than 100 criteria and performance indicators to on-site audits. After touring ASM’s SMT plants in Singapore and Malaysia, the international panel of judges was impressed by the global level of cooperation: “The standardization of processes, equipment and tools enables ASM to operate a flexible and truly global production network of equal partners. The global team in Munich, Singapore and Malaysia collected valuable points especially with its consistent focus on supplier development and integration.”
Network of equal partners
Jörg Cwojdzinski, Vice President SCM at ASM SMT Solutions, explains what makes ASM’s production network so special: “Many companies have globally distributed plants, usually with a single lead factory in which processes are developed before they are propagated to the lower-level factories with rigidly limited subtasks. At ASM we do things differently. We don’t want to distribute our production, but execute it jointly. Whether process and quality standards, automation or digitalization initiatives – everything is being developed by the global team. Each plant manufactures our highly complex machines based on common standards in order to satisfy the regional market’s requirements as resource-effectively as possible. And since they operate with identical process standards, they can function as capacity reserves for the other plants,” explains Jörg Cwojdzinski.
Center of competence for innovations
Automation and digitalization are being promoted in all factories via innovation projects with distributed responsibilities. “A single plant can manage only a limited number of innovation projects in addition to performing its manufacturing obligations. By distributing the leads in projects like robotics, 3D printing, augmented reality and other smart technologies across our global production network, we improve the quality and speed of their evaluation and implementation,” says Wei Hsien Low, Senior Director Operations of the Singapore plant.
After winning its first GEO Award in 2012, the ASM plant in Munich was named overall “Factory of the Year” in 2016. The company does not only help electronics manufacturers turn their plants into smart factories, but consistently advances its own processes to become leaner and smarter. The GEO Award represents a welcome benchmark for the process improvements that have already been achieved.
What the award means
The contest’s assessment model reflects all of a factory’s performance dimensions ranging from strategy, process quality and resource management to productivity and profitability. The Global Excellence in Operation (GEO) model developed by A.T. Kearney assesses six key performance dimensions: value generation, customer satisfaction, profitability, quality, agility, and innovation. The evaluation looks at over 100 criteria and performance indicators. This demanding and objective evaluation system has been instrumental in making the contest as respected as it is today.