Companies are constantly under pressure to reduce costs while maintaining excellent quality. To achieve these objectives, manufacturers are turning to outsourcing to strategically integrate along the supply chain – offering broader control as well as reducing the level of risk. This approach streamlines the entire supply chain and results in a more cost-effective solution.

A company’s supply chain starts with raw material acquisition and ends when the customer receives the final product – and is comprised of all of the suppliers that participate in the sourcing, manufacturing, kitting, assembly, warehousing, fulfillment, and distribution processes. Strategic integration is when your contract manufacturer is responsible for additional stages of the supply chain. For example, instead of solely manufacturing products, a contract manufacturer broadens its solutions to include assembly, kitting, fulfillment and distribution responsibilities. The key concept is that integrated contract manufacturers control and are responsible for more steps in the supply chain.

As noted below, there is tremendous value in partnering with a contract manufacturer, like Riverside Integrated Solutions (RIS), that offers integrated manufacturing solutions. In addition to building your products, the team at RIS performs fulfillment and distribution as well as warehousing services for a complete manufacturing solution.

Why Integrate Fulfillment and Distribution?

Over time, manufacturing continues to shift towards an increasingly specialized environment especially as technology further evolves and develops. OEMs may find themselves asking “should I perform this portion of my supply chain in-house, or outsource this step to my existing contract manufacturer?”

To answer this question, OEMs must first decide what core competencies they wish to keep in-house. Outsourcing frees OEMs to focus on their core business competencies and strategic vision – which often do not include services such as fulfillment and distribution. For this reason, many companies outsource these responsibilities to their contract manufacturer. Additionally, if OEMs are already outsourcing portions of their supply chain to multiple contract manufacturers, it is important to understand the value of reducing the number of suppliers and working with a single, strategic partner like RIS.

What to Look For in a Fulfillment and Distribution Partner

Below are some key traits to look for in your fulfillment and distribution partner. For more information about the fulfillment and distribution solutions at RIS, watch our short video.

· Complete Manufacturing Solutions: fulfillment and distribution are great services to add-on to existing contract manufacturing responsibilities. One of the biggest benefits of RIS as your contract manufacturer is the complete start-to-finish support we provide. From procuring materials, to building or kitting your product to the final outbound shipment, you gain access to our complete distribution capabilities that will expand your reach into any channel. We are your fulfillment and distribution partner with expertise in everything from e-commerce, shipments direct to production facilities, and distribution to dealer networks worldwide. We are truly a one-stop shop.

· Central Location: it makes good business sense to have your fulfillment and distribution partner in a central location with easy access to key logistics channels. At RIS, our geographically centralized location in North America means our shipments can oftentimes get to either coast in just a few days – also delivering savings on overall freight expenses. Our world-wide logistics solutions can accommodate your international orders anywhere they need to go.

· Offers Pick, Pack, and Ship: at RIS, we make shipping easy. No need to worry about shipping your product to us in consumer-ready packaging. We accept bulk-pallet shipments and re-pack as needed because that is simply a more efficient way for our customers to operate.

· Simple System Integration: partnering with an integrated contract manufacturer makes for much simpler system integration. At RIS, our order processing systems can be setup in many cases to automatically download your orders and process them for shipment. You will have visibility into what orders have shipped, and your customer will receive tracking notifications.

· Strong and Timely Inventory Management: at RIS, we believe robust inventory management is essential to a healthy supply chain. Our inventory management system will provide you with your current stock levels of products. These custom inventory reports are updated daily to provide real time access to your stock on hand.

· Ecommerce Experience: consumers today have the ability to shop with their fingertips across multiple outlets – and often do so frequently. For this reason, it is essential that your fulfillment and distribution partner have ecommerce expertise. The professionals at RIS have proven experience with ecommerce including major dotcom retailers such as Amazon that will connect you to your customers.

Looking for a PCB assembly partner with proven experience and advanced facilities?

Contact the team at RIS to learn more about our PCBA and other product assembly expertise.

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The Value of Integrated Manufacturing Solutions

As markets become increasingly competitive, integration becomes more of a necessity for manufacturers. By integrating additional steps within the supply chain, OEMs reap the benefits of lower risk, higher efficiency, and lower costs – all of which provide a critical competitive edge. Below are some of the areas where OEMs gain value from an integrated contract manufacturer, like RIS.

· Lower Costs: decreased expenses are one of the main advantages of integration. The cost benefits are typically from lower labor, operating, equipment, and overhead expenses since in-house personnel and facilities are no longer needed to perform the given services. Cost savings are also realized from the high efficiency that comes from working with a single strategic partner. Some OEMs also experience a decrease in inventory and warehousing costs due to a more optimized supply chain. Additionally, there may be raw material, logistics, storage, and packaging cost reductions as contract manufacturers, like RIS, have well-established networks, often enabling them to procure, store, and transport materials more quickly and economically than OEMs.

· Fewer Disruptions and Faster Speed to Market: simply put, the fewer suppliers participating in the supply chain, the fewer hand-offs that occur – leading to less opportunities for disruptions and delays. Integrated contract manufacturers control more of the supply chain and have less surprises – and are able to more effectively manage any problems that arise. Additionally, the supply chain process flows more smoothly for integrated manufacturers – getting products to customers more rapidly and reducing time to market.

· Increased Efficiency and Quality: partnering with a contract manufacturer with experience and expertise in the service you are outsourcing often results in higher productivity and quality than performing the service in-house. OEMs are able to leverage the contract manufacturer’s established and vetted best practices, processes, and expertise for the given service.

· More Manufacturing Flexibility: working with an integrated contract manufacturer like RIS allows OEMs to be more nimble and responsive to market fluctuations and changing customer demands. Their distribution networks are in place to seamlessly move goods as necessary. Integration also provides an economy of scale that is often not feasible for OEMs and non-integrated manufacturers.

· Improved Customer Satisfaction: instead of relying on multiple suppliers, integrated manufacturers are able to directly influence the customer experience throughout the supply chain. Also, integration allows manufacturers to even more closely track and control quality as the product progresses through the supply chain – resulting in fewer quality and fulfillment issues and a better overall customer experience.

About RIS Integrated Manufacturing Solutions

With all of the contract manufacturing partner choices out there, we know it can be difficult to find someone that not only understands your business model but also has your best intentions in mind. RIS has proven to always be a win-win focused relationship. As your one-stop-shop, we have the capabilities, capacity, quality assurance standards, and resources to provide you with support for all of your manufacturing needs. We understand that supply chain management is difficult and very time consuming, so we urge our customers to utilize us in the fullest capacity. Our total-package solutions include:

· Extensive supply-chain network

· Purchasing and inventory management

· Dedicated Program Manager

· Warehousing and drop-shipping capabilities

· Flexible order fulfillment

· Product assembly: sub-assembly and full product

· Scalability to meet your needs

RIS is an advanced contract manufacturer providing robust solutions in circuit board assembly, product assembly, kitting, supply chain management, fulfillment, distribution, and reverse logistics. We employ more than 300 people and provide services to OEM’s across the world. We operate 3 state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities within the U.S, and as your one-stop-shop we have the capabilities, capacity, quality assurance standards, and resources to provide you with support for all of your manufacturing needs.

Contact us today at (507) 523-3220 to see how we can help with your PCB assembly needs, or click here for a quote.