This Time-to-Market Success Delivered 13,200 Cable Harnesses
A recent article in Assembly magazine discusses several case studies in wire harnessing. Author Jim Camillo speaks of the importance for wire harness assemblers to use the latest processing equipment, workbenches, and testing system. He also highlights, when sharing Fourstar’s time-to-market success story, the vital role collaboration played in the project with Coghlin Companies (its prototype, DCI Engineering, and electronics manufacturing services, Columbia Tech, reached out to Fourstar in 2013).
The original proposal asked for support building prototypes that required 100 assembly configurations to be outfitted for a cloud computing mobile data center solution. By the end of the project, Fourstar produced over 500 individual configurations of cable and electro-mechanical assemblies for the project—consisting of 13,200 cable harnesses—contributing to the manufacturing and deployment of 39 mobile data centers to support cloud computing infrastructure.
Collaboration Is Critical
Time-to-market timelines require communication and cooperation to meet quick-turn deadlines within the project and for final delivery. As Camillo points out in his article, “To help Fourstar resolve engineering challenges early in the project, Coghlin assigned a DCI engineer to work at Fourstar’s Hudson, MA, facility. The person was there to address technical questions in real-time. Fourstar, in turn, deployed some of its people to work in CT’s facilities, and help them in any way possible. Both companies maintained daily contact, and their employees even worked seven days a week at times during the project.”
According to Jim Coghlin, Columbia Tech’s Chief Operating Officer, this was the “largest technology order of its kind placed—ever.” As such, Fourstar sought manufacturing support form Tornik LCC, further helping them to meet the production commitments to stay on schedule and within budget. A project with this scope and timeline pressure would not have been possible without dedicated collaboration throughout the supply chain and within all the stages of development, production, and delivery. Flexibility and the ability to make decisions and changes in a very tight timeline were the two top criteria necessary to navigate through the layered reach of this project.
Fourstar assembled all the harnesses from March 1 to October 15. As Camillo reports, Fourstar delivered the System 1 prototype set within five weeks of the first contact between the two companies. There were many engineering changes for the System 2 build (approximately 200 new wire harness configurations). This was followed by 23 additional System 1 sets being completed within four months. Fourstar started making them in mid-August and finished in mid-October.
It was reported that there has not been a single quality issue since deployment of these mobile data centers, and Columbia Tech’s client has offered very positive feedback. As such, Columbia Tech was a top-10 nominee for its client’s President’s Quality Award.
About Fourstar Connections
Fourstar Connections, Inc. is an established company with an entrepreneurial spirit—having 30 years of experience, and offering a comprehensive portfolio of services and solutions to tackle a wide range of manufacturing needs. Fourstar Connections partners with leading companies to problem solve, innovate, and find better ways for new product introduction (NPI), and create design for manufacturing (DFM) initiatives. Its project management, manufacturing expertise, exceptional customer support, and advanced IT systems enable it to provide a comprehensive range of products and solutions—from cable assemblies to complex box build solutions—and quickly ramp up to meet target dates and volume requirements.
Custom built or customer specified, its flexible and scalable manufacturing services can be tailored to meet production needs—from high-mix, low-volume, to low-cost regions. Through Fourstar’s strategic value-added reseller (VAR) relationships, it delivers functionality and value across the supply chain to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance quality. Fourstar’s 28,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility is located in Hudson, MA, with affiliate manufacturing facilities in Mexico and China.