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09/03/2018 / Graham Lowe

How Hochiki Maintain an Effective Supply Chain

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In this blog, Adish Rastogi, Group Supply Chain Manager, discusses the complexities of a life safety system manufacturer’s supply chain, and the various processes that have been put in place to support such a large operation.

In the last century, thanks to globalisation, the development of vast shipping transport networks, and the advancement of technology, manufacturing supply chains have become ultra-efficient but also incredibly complex.

Today, life safety products, especially if they incorporate smart technology, can be made from hundreds of individual components, sourced from different locations. At Hochiki Europe this is no different, so managing our supply chain effectively and working closely with industry partners is vital to ensure we can deliver the highest quality products on time.

Component parts are sourced from around the world and then hand assembled here in the UK. Each one of our products is then individually inspected and tested before it is released into the market. We utilise more than 250 in-house design tests, analysing each of the 50,000 devices produced every month. With such stringent quality assurance processes in place, it’s essential we forecast production requirements accurately to ensure we consistently fulfil our customers’ orders on time. To do this we have developed our own propriety production monitoring and forecasting tools, based on our individual needs as a business, and utilising industry-wide practices.

Having experienced extremely fast growth, in the last year, we faced a number of challenges. However, this has also given us the opportunity to further enhance our supply chain capabilities. Last year, we increased capacity of our warehouse to 1,300sq/m of floor space, some of this space is utilised for special labelled products, such as marine devices, to meet demand. In addition, we have also extended our warehousing in Italy and India and have plans to expand our UK warehousing facility further in 2018-19.

This strategic investment gives us more flexibility and helps us to increase stock holding capability, reducing lead times for customers. Because of this, this has allowed us to offer next day deliveries in mainland UK when ordered by 12 noon as well as deliveries to Europe within 72 hours. All stock takes are conducted at weekends so that operations can continue to run smoothly Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm.

From our UK Hochiki Europe headquarters, we service the Middle East, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent, as well as Europe. As a result of our increased market reach, Hochiki Cooperation moved the production of several key products to Hochiki Europe’s headquarters in Gillingham. This was of course a significant operation for our Production Team, involving six months of planning, shipping, set-up and QA testing, so it was important to ensure that stock levels were sufficient for customers during this ‘down period’.

This unique position and our supply chain management has meant that, at a time when many manufacturers are moving their production to the far east to reduce costs and increase margins, we have been able to maintain our UK manufacturing base. In fact, we have even increased our production capabilities in the UK to better serve the EMEA region, while ensuring production quality remains at its very best. The Hochiki brand is synonymous with high quality and reliability, and we strive to maintain this superior reputation.

For more information about our supply chain and quality assurance capabilities, visit www.hochikieurope.com.

Adish Rastogi, Group Supply Chain Manager

Adish Rastogi has more than 20 years’ experience in end-to-end supply chain management and has worked as Group Supply Chain Manager for Hochiki Europe since 2016. Adish specialises in the implementation of supply chain processes and continuous improvement.

 

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