Case Studies

From Product Sketch to Shipment: A Case Study of Project Management

With a wide variety of clients across the world, our Project Management techniques are tailored to meet our client’s specific and individual needs. This allows us to deliver high quality products based on our customers’ specifications, whatever the contract may be.

Recently we had an order for loose furniture for a five star hotel project in the US. Seventeen different items were required for this project. The client provided very basic line drawings or pictures of the desired items. Since the drawings were only for appearance reference, we made CAD drawings for each item, including all necessary dimensions and notes. After some minor adjustments, the client approved the drawings and sample making began. The order consisted of 17 different furniture items, using 27 different fabrics/leather, and eight different trims. Our firm covered all aspects of manufacturing, from drawing, pre-production sample confirmation, mass production, in-process and final quality control, and shipping.

Due to our location in relation to the client, they did not come to inspect or approve the pre-production samples or mass production items. Instead, we did all of our communication, modification, and approval via photos. Once mass production started, we were able to keep on schedule. One small hitch occurred; the Customer’s Own Material (COM) fabric was delayed by a month. In order to adjust for the delay, our QC team stayed at the factory for two weeks prior to shipment, ensuring the product line was in perfect order, while our Project Manager updated the customer daily on the status of the production line.

Our client was highly satisfied with the delivered furniture and confident in our abilities. With our production costs and emailed photos and status updates, the client was able to save in both travel time and money, as they didn’t need to visit our factory to view the items. After planning around the client’s fabric delay, we were still able to ship within a time that satisfied the client.

Communication is Key – Correcting Issues with a Smartphone Order that Could Have Been Avoided

Communication is very important to ensure high quality, good lead times and customer satisfaction. This means communication between us and the factory, communication between factory employees and communication between the factory and the customer. Good communication must be frequent and timely.

Poor communication could have resulted in an unacceptable batch of 1,000 smartphones being shipped to Mexico. We notified our client that, at the assembly factory, we must perform inspections of the products during the assembly process in order to conform to their quality standards (achieve a defective rate lower than 2%).

However, the factory finished assembly without communicating with us or the customer, resulting in us being unable to do our job and leaving the customer unable to include the NOM label on the phone and gift box. More than two days of additional time was needed to solve the problem, which meant that the client’s order was at risk of missing the important Christmas holiday season.

We addressed this problem by arranging seven team members to inspect every smartphone one by one, which was finished within two days. Ten percent (100 phones) were found to be defective, and so we arranged for technicians to fix these phones before shipping. Addressing the problem of the NOM labels, we worked out a new label solution and had them printed out within twelve hours.

Poor communication, delays and defective products are the biggest problems, and we solved these by minimizing the delay, communicating frequently and ensuring that the shipped products were 100% guaranteed. We delivered a quick-response to the problem, with adequate teammates and lots of experience in dealing with a wide variety of problems.

If the original product batch had been sent to Mexico, there would have been a strong chance of the supermarket receiving a high level of complaints and returns from their customers. This would have been bad for all parties involved. Our solution stopped this potential problem from happening, and our quick turnaround helped the client catch up for the Christmas season.

Knowing the Standards and Meeting Them

When managing the manufacturing of a designer chair for a North American client, Amrosia found that the chairs did not comply with the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association’s (BIFMA) leg strength test. The chair’s 2mm thick tubing on its own was not strong enough to pass the BIFMA tests and changing to 2.5mm or 3.0mm tubing was not an option due to lack of availability in plating grade quality.

In order to strengthen the existing tubes without replacing them outright with thicker versions, unavailable in China, Amrosia recommended a solution to place smaller tubes inside the 2mm thick tubing at critical welded joints.  This change meant the previously weak joints were significantly strengthened, plating quality was not affected, and the chair passed all applicable BIMFA tests.  Prior to sending the chair frames to the North American BIMFA testing lab, we made our own testing equipment to test the strength of the improved design.

Amrosia was able to act as a bridge between our supplier and our client to facilitate the necessary solutions while ensuring that the improved products would pass certification standards.  By maintaining a strict timeline, we made sure development time was as short as possible and open PO’s were shipped on time.  This allowed our client to provide their customer’s with high quality furniture while saving both time and further investment into what could have been a failed product.

 

The Value Add – Simplifying a Product Range to Increase the Value of Your Offerings

Following a beneficial partnership on a wide range of products with a Mexican supermarket, Amrosia, in tandem with our partner sought to reevaluate the value of the manufactured items being supplied in order to generate more revenue for both parties, while increasing the value that the supermarket was able to offer their customers.

Upon completing research to identify opportunities to add value to the customer’s product orders, the team at Amrosia found several areas where the customer could leverage existing assets, as well as by adding some new ones to increase revenues and further promote their business by increasing their value proposition. These areas included finding products that were in line with the supermarket’s existing brand, improving existing successful product offerings and promoting them accordingly, focusing on trending markets, laying out a timeframe through which to order seasonal items and finally, removing items that were low revenue generating, expensive and time consuming products as well as buzz items from orders.

Based on our research, we found that by adding products to the chain’s existing brands, they would be able to leverage the value of the brand to increase sales while providing higher value products that met consumer needs and ultimately driving brand awareness for the business as a whole.

At the same time, by improving, where necessary, and further promoting previously successful ‘big ticket’ products, the brand was able to save on the costs of sourcing new items, having ordered them before, mitigate the risk of stocking a new, unproven product and further drive revenue.

We also saw an opportunity for the company to take advantage of trending markets in the automotive, telecommunications and consumer electronics sectors, to further expand their product portfolio and by positioning themselves to benefit from the organic rise of the market.

Being able to predict future, seasonal orders also allowed our partner to save critical lead time and capital by making orders in a timely fashion.

Finally, by illuminating items that were not generating the desired revenue, as well as those items that were both heavily time and cost consuming and short term “buzz items” enabled the business to save costs and speed up delivery times of those items proven to generate revenue.

Following Amrosia’s research, broached with our partners respectfully, many of our conclusions were taken on board and implemented, allowing our partners to increase revenue while saving a great deal on the cost of package design and marketing for products that were low revenue or short term revenue generating items.

This was ultimately very beneficial for both parties, giving our partners increased revenue, enabling them to further benefit from their relationship with us.

 

Dangerous Goods – Getting Your Products from Here to There

When sourcing from China, it is often assumed that once a product is found, the associated factory will have the resources to get your finished products where they need to be; unfortunately, this is often not the case. Depending on the goods being shipped, buyers will often run into unexpected difficulties that put their projects at risk, and in today’s globalized world where expediency can be so directly tied revenue, there is no time to have products delayed by bureaucracy and red tape.

Fortunately for a Mexico-based supermarket, an Amrosia client, we were well positioned to help them avoid all of the time-consuming bureaucracy that could have seen their products stuck in China or relegated to a weeks-long trip aboard a ship. Due to their products being labeled “Dangerous Goods”, the factory was unable to ship the goods – insecticides, air fresheners and shaving cream – via air, meaning that the client would lose valuable time getting their products to market.

In order to mitigate this issue, we were able to ship the goods from mainland China to Hong Kong via a trusted forwarded with experience in “Dangerous Goods” logistics, at which point our global logistics center in Hong Kong, in tandem with another experienced Hong Kong forwarder were able to prepare the goods – packing, marking, labeling – and proper documents – Dangerous Goods Declaration, KC form, packing list, and invoice – to have them air freighted to the client quickly and have their products on store shelves for customers to purchase.

UV Protection – Combining our Strengths on the Ground for a Positive Outcome

When an American client was searching for outdoor furniture, they had naturally expected that the factory that they had sourced would be able to comply with their 2-year warranty and UV treatment to protect the products from the damaging effects of prolonged exposure to the sun. To their surprise, the factory was unable to comply with these requirements; furthermore, they were unable to find a factory that could.

In order to mitigate any delays in the client’s order, Amrosia was able to first ship their initial order, ensuring that the bulk of the shipment would arrive with time to spare. Amrosia worked with a reputable sun-proofing factory in Shanghai that supplied the material, which was then upholstered at Amrosia’s own seating assembly facilities. The order was completed and delivered on time and to the client’s specifications.

In shipping the main components of the order first, those that would take longest to arrive, while completing the remaining portion of the project, using our sourcing and assembly competencies and then shipping the fabric via FedEx, we were able to save the client critical time, while ensuring that their products were delivered as ordered.

World Cup – Mass Sourcing and Inspection

Quality or quantity, why not both?

When sourcing large amounts of the same product, while in many respects simplifies the sourcing process, can also result in potential problems where quality issues are masked by the volume of products on hand, much like finding a needle in a needle stack, how do you find defects in massive numbers of identical products? Amrosia was faced with this issue in April of 2010, prior to the World Cup in South Africa.

In April of 2010, Amrosia was contracted by our long-time client to ensure the quality and manufacturing lead time of 30,000 chairs been produced at two different factories to be delivered to South Africa prior to the 2010 World Cup. During this process our inspectors had to take into account the sample production, dimensions, color and material quality to ensure that our customer was getting what they wanted.

The project experienced a setback when our inspectors were forced to reject 15,000 chairs for substandard quality. As this would ultimately affect the manufacturing lead time, Amrosia was able to develop a solution and fix the 15,000 chairs within two days of identifying the problem. Amrosia also assisted the factories with proper packaging to ensure that the products were not damaged en route to South Africa, while also assisting with shipping arrangements.

Few events are quite so exciting as the World Cup and when a businesses revenue depends on having places for customers to sit for a once in a lifetime event, lead times are critically important. Amrosia was able to spur to action the manufacturers while maintaining the quality of the products and ensuring that they were delivered properly and on time to South Africa.

Norde Anglia Abu Dhabi School – Multi-faceted sourcing, design and manufacturing

In today’s global market, products can be made up of parts and components sourced from all over the world, from a multitude of suppliers. But how does a company take the plethora of suppliers in regions around the globe and receive an end product manufactured on time and within budget? In 2009, Amrosia was presented with just such a case.

In June of 2009 one of Amrosia’s clients was contracted by the Norde Anglia School of Abu Dhabi to provide 600 furniture related items sourced from 12 different suppliers by the beginning of August, to be ready by the time the school opened in September.

With such a short lead time and a large number of suppliers, Amrosia was able to develop 40 new project-specific items working with several different factories to produce several final products. While the majority of the materials for the project were initially sourced inChina, some of the fabric was sourced by the client in theU.S., but given the tight lead time, wasn’t able to arrive on time. Amrosia mitigated this problem by sourcing equivalent material inChina, maintaining the promised delivery date. At the same time, an in-process inspection revealed that the quality of a certain iron powder coating did not meet the customer’s quality requirements, which was quickly replaced, again saving time.

The 600 products, sourced from 12 different factories ultimately found their way to our factory for final assembly, inspection and shipment arriving on time to specification in time for the school’s opening in September.

What was crucial for the success of not just this, but every project, is the ability to intimately understand and communicate the requirements of our clients to suppliers and take into account the unique requirements of the environment in which those products will be used. Specific to this project, as the furniture was destined for a school, were the safety packaging and functions of the products that had to be taken into account during the design and production phase. Ultimately, our client received their 600 products sourced from 12 different suppliers, valued at USD $250,000 within two months of placing their order with us. On time and in budget.

Air Conditioners – Defective product and resolution

Bigger Does not Necessarily Mean Better

A fast growing retailer ordered a large quantity of air conditioners from an internationally known manufacturer inSouth China. During our inspections, we found abnormalities in sound vibrations. This defect lead to the A/C unit running at noise levels much higher than normal standards and would have resulted in complaints and returns by the end user. Working with supplier we established that problem was caused by an irregular spinning cooling fan. We had the supplier re-balance all manufactured fans and we re-tested them all to ensure the problem was resolved. This did not affect production lead time and allowed our customer to have quality A/C units on their shelves for the critical Spring/Summer sales season.

Upon receiving inquiries for an order of air conditioners we researched standards, energy efficiency requirements, compared specifications, pricing and quality. This was done by talking to re-sellers, manufacturers, online information and consulting product experts. We provided our customer with this information and after clarifying their required specifications, tolerances and pricing we began to process the confirmed order.

During the inspection of the final produced goods, we found that the outdoor air conditioning unit was producing more noise than that agreed upon in the specification. Upon further testing, we confirmed that the cause was an irregularly spinning cooling fan. We instructed the supplier to re-work and balance all cooling fans in a timely manner.

After re-inspecting the goods, we found that the problem had been solved and approved the goods.

Despite the size of your order or even the reputation of your supplier, ensure that you commit to your due diligence to avoid potential losses in time and capital. Having found this problem Amrosia was able to save our customer over USD $1,000,000 worth of faulty goods, the majority of which would have ceased to operate within the first twelve months of use. Having found and fixed this issue in a timely manner, Amrosia was able to correct the issue without affecting the original production schedule.

 

Gas Water Heaters – new product design, development and market introduction

The Best of Both Worlds

There are times when a product that may be well suited to your market simply doesn’t exist yet, while the technical know-how is there. How do you take a great idea and turn it into a new product, from research and development, design and finally, production?

Amrosia was presented with just such a case, having been requested to assist in the design of  a new water heater that would be able to operate within two domestic water heating systems – A Solar powered unit located on the roof of a residence and a Gas powered unit. The primary focus of the design was for the gas water heater to only operate when needed, thus saving the end user money while helping the environment.

Amrosia consulted with some of the best manufacturers in Asia, ultimately deciding to work with four suppliers housing the best R&D teams. Having honed the design and after a month of extensive testing and improvements, Amrosia was able to offer our customer 3 different prototypes, of which two are currently undergoing final testing in our customer’s market.

As with all of our projects based on product development and new production introduction, the vast majority of the project is based on product research. We first studied the current workings of Gas Water Heaters and then the potential solutions to it working in unison with an alternative water heating source. We met with a number of suppliers in Asia and had detailed meetings with their R&D teams to discuss possible workable solutions.

Our bilingual and technical staff presented 3 different potential solutions to our customers, giving them an opportunity to meet potential suppliers with the majority of research and ground work already done. After choosing to manufacture a testing sample from two different suppliers, with an aim to choose the most economical unit, we assisted suppliers with testing and guided them through manufacturing difficulties.

Amrosia presented two final samples to our customer, both of which were accepted for testing in their domestic market.

From start to finish, creating and marketing a new product is a monumental task. Working with Amrosia allowed our customer to rely on our skills, including language, communicating with suppliers in Mandarin, the customer in Spanish and technical consultants in English. They also benefited from our position on the ground visiting factories and testing while providing timely updates, saving them both time and travel costs, while their confidence in our technical aptitude allowed us to make real-time adjustments, accelerating the development process and allowing them to invest more of their time in actually selling their new product.