Throughout various industries, original equipment manufacturers, more commonly referred to as OEMs, and other businesses contract for sub-assembly services provided by reputable and trustworthy partners.
As industries become more competitive and customer expectations escalate, manufacturers are increasingly turning to sub-assembly service providers to successfully meet their primary objectives, from delivering quality products at competitive prices to ensuring that their organizations can remain profitable.
More specifically, Subcontract assembly services delivered by the right provider can ensure that a company can increase the efficiency of its operations, meet deadlines, increase productivity, increase speed to market, and achieve its overall objectives.
What is sub-assembly?
Companies that specialize in contract assembly services and sub-assembly services, such as a manufacturing supply chain integrator, support OEMs and other businesses by handling a specific part of the assembly process for a product, such as an automobile, heavy-duty truck, tractor, agricultural equipment, fitness equipment, HVAC, or a golf cart.
Sub-assembly consists of integrating components before the subsequent assembly stages before the completion of a part or an entire project. In various industries, this process also may be referred to as component assembly, sub-component assembly, or sub-product assembly.
Sub assembly meaning
To better understand the meaning of sub-assembly, the following is an example of how a partner that provides contract assembly services may support an automotive manufacturer. If the company is outsourced to assemble an engine, it will ensure that the parts are identified and delivered to a station where they are assembled to complete the sub-assembly for that product. The engine for an internal combustion vehicle can consist of about 200 parts. Even the more simple engine of an electric vehicle has around 20 parts.
To ensure that the product meets the customer's specifications, the sub-assembly process should include fail-safe tooling design and manufacturing processes, leak testing, in-line mechanical inspections, and final quality inspections.
A manufacturing supply chain integrator will then deliver the sub-assemblies lineside, ensuring that the right products are delivered to the right place on time to promote a higher level of efficiency and productivity. As a final step, the complete sub-assemblies are integrated into the engine and, later, the vehicle.
What Is Sub-Assembly Manufacturing
Assembly in manufacturing has become highly complex as well as highly efficient since the introduction of the automotive moving assembly line by Henry Ford on Dec. 1, 1913. With that first innovation, which would guide assembly manufacturers for decades, Ford cut the time it took to build an entire vehicle from more than 12 hours to 1 hour and 33 minutes.
Today, sub-assembly manufacturing continues to evolve to incorporate innovations that streamline the time it takes to build a part or complete the assembly of a part or a final product. Some of the latest innovations include the use of artificial intelligence to increase efficiencies through automation.
While numerous steps come before assembly for the production of an automobile, heavy-duty truck, or airplane, including design, logistics, planning, and engineering, the assembly process is critical in ensuring that the product performs to expectations. Considerations must be given to the materials, dimensions, sequence of assembly, processing times, inventory control, etc.
What is sub-assembly manufacturing?
With sub-assembly manufacturing in the automotive or aerospace industries, for example, teams are responsible for combining components of a part to ensure that it is complete for integration for the larger end product.
Through sub-assembly, a team or a machine assembles a part at a workstation as part of a production line. That operation may take place in the same building where other parts or the final product are being manufactured or assembled, such as in an automotive manufacturing facility. However, in many cases, companies outsource the production of sub-assemblies to providers that specialize in this type of production and assembly. By doing so, they can shorten the time it takes for the final product to go to market and streamline overall production.
For products that consist of numerous parts, many manufacturers rely on other companies to provide sub-assemblies as part of the production process.
Sub Assembly Process
As many companies have found, using MSW for sub-assemblies leading to final product assembly can help their teams boost productivity while increasing efficiency throughout their processes.
Sub-assemblies, whether simple or complex, require specialized equipment and processes, and attention to assembly drawings. Companies can gain savings by outsourcing this process to MSW. The result is the ability to more quickly get products to market and scale production.
When outsourcing the sub-assembly process to MSW, companies can significantly streamline their operations in the following ways:
- Free up employee time. By outsourcing sub-assembly, internal teams will have more time to dedicate to strategic initiatives, product development, sales, and other important tasks.
- Ramp up production. With MSW as a reliable partner responsible for sub-assembly parts, a company can confidently scale production more quickly.
- Minimize errors. MSW has a track record of helping partners reduce risk and errors in the production process through its specialization in sub-assemblies.
- Reduce inventory. Assigning MSW responsibility for the assembly of components allows a company to free up space at their facility that otherwise would be dedicated to keeping inventory onsite.
- Streamline shipping. Through kitting and packaging solutions, MSW minimizes delays that can occur when a company sources components from numerous vendors.
Sub-assembly examples of practices and controls used by MSW to ensure a high level of quality include cellular manufacturing, feasibility studies, lean manufacturing, mistake proofing, parts per million (PPM), safe launch planning, advanced planning quality planning (APQP), and production part approval process (PPAP).
Complex Assembly Manufacturing Solution
MSW, an industry leader in supply chain management and customer order fulfillment, provides professional support for a complex assembly manufacturing solution (CAMS), including parts cleaning, millipore testing, kitting and sub-assembly, part sorting and inspection, to streamline operations of organizations in various industries.
As a manufacturing supply chain integrator, MSW provides numerous services, including the following:
Kitting and assembly solutions
MSW offers kitting and assembly solutions to support its customers. These solutions, which require putting together components, offer clients two distinct advantages when outsourced.
MSW’s assembly services include integrating two or more components to create an object like a component of an engine. It also offers a kitting solution, which involves packaging two or more compatible items into a single kit to be shipped and sold as one item. MSW's kitting capabilities include sequencing, barcoding, barcode verifiers, skin packaging, moisture barrier packaging, heat sealing, film wrapping, inventory management, and crating.
Through MSW's customer order fulfillment, these two processes are often combined to streamline and speed up the process of getting a product to market.
As a partner for companies seeking order fulfillment, MSW delivers customized solutions that encompass needs related to warehousing, inventory management, supply chain management, and kitting and assembly. MSW offers options for pick and pack, shipments to distributors and consumers, same-day domestic shipping, and international shipping.
Supply chain solutions and warehousing
MSW offers an advanced warehouse management system, with quality assurance processes, to ensure that customers have a reliable partner to manage parts of their supply chain throughout the launch of a new product. This includes the procurement of materials and services to meet deadlines and specifications.
Through a combination of advanced technology, highly trained expert employees, and 150,000-square-foot warehouse space, MSW can offer real-time production solutions to ensure products are delivered to standards.
Sub Assembly Management
Companies outsourcing sub-assembly management to a third party typically realize numerous benefits in streamlining the manufacturing process, ranging from cost-savings with employee training to cutting the time it takes to complete the production of a final product.
For example, with MSW overseeing sub-assembly production, a company can rely on a highly trained team that completes tasks based on specifications and adheres to extensive quality monitoring. With its extensive experience in sub-assembly, MSW offers a process that minimizes the risks of missed deadlines and mistakes that can occur during the assembly process.
Here are a few specific ways in which a business can realize significant efficiencies, opportunities for continuous improvement, and a reduction in costs of the supply chain process by partnering with MSW for sub-assembly production.
- Minimize production time. With MSW dedicated to subassemblies, the company's time invested in production is considerably shortened. The internal team also can focus on strategy, innovation, and other critical tasks.
- Ensure accuracy in sub-assembly. By dedicating teams to one part of the assembly process, a company can reduce the risks associated with workers assembling the entire product, such as errors in specifications.
- Minimize equipment costs and repairs. A company can realize cost savings by forgoing the need to invest in specialized equipment required for sub-assembly. These costs are absorbed by a partner with the technology and the skilled workers needed to operate the equipment.
- Increased potential for scalability. With a partner dedicated to sub-assembly production, a business can free up teams to ramp up production, which can lead to a competitive edge in their industries.
MSW's team's attention to detail, use of advanced technology, and dedication to continuous improvement ensure that the sub-assembly process meets the requirements and schedule of each order.
With MSW as a partner, businesses can rely on a team that expertly addresses challenges related to various stages of the supply chain, including assembly, sub-assembly, packaging, kitting, warehousing, parts cleaning, and inspection.