PCI Ltd: Restructuring supply chain operations

PCI Ltd: Restructuring supply chain operations

Through a transformation program taking things “back to basics”, PCI has positioned itself to ride the oncoming wave of digitisation...

PCI Limited (PCI) is an Electronics Manufacturing Serviced (EMS) company headquartered in Singapore. The company offers a comprehensive suite of services, extending to all points in the manufacturing outsourcing cycle.  This comprises of design, manufacturing engineering, material sourcing and procurement, assembly, testing and logistics.  From the launch of new products to improving the competitiveness of existing projects, PCI remains dedicated to enhancing value at every step of the supply chain.

 “We are a customer centric EMS company. Apart from design and manufacturing electronic products for our customers, we are also capable in managing the entire supply chain for the customer,” says Dominic Chan, Senior Vice President, Operations - PCI.

The goal? To be the EMS partner of choice for companies that require a highly competent service, one that can meet their complex demands.

A fully diversified company, PCI works with some of the leading businesses in a number of industry sectors, including industrial, commercial, consumer, automotive and medical.

Customer complexity

As the Senior Vice President of Operations, Chan is all too aware of those complex needs and, more importantly, how quickly they can change.

“The electronics industry is so dynamic, and with that the supply chain demand is ever-evolving,” he says. “For me, that means that the supply chain and operations of the company have to be versatile and responsive, providing innovative solutions that can meet those changing and unique requirements.”

It is this need to be agile, to be innovative and to be able to offer the right solution to the right customer in the face of a changing customer expectation, that saw PCI embark on a transformative journey eight years ago, one that would “take things back to basics.

This journey saw the company invest significantly into three key areas that would completely transform the its supply chain operations, enabling that agility and versatility.

“We need to be able to respond rapidly to customer’s evolving needs and keep up with the pace of our industry. We needed to think big, but operate small,” says Chan.

Through this investment, PCI bolstered its workforce with training programs, equipping them with the right skillsets and to improve their work processes and problem-solving abilities.

The company also identified what Chan describes as “technology enablers”, which saw the implementation of a new ERP system (SAP) and linking it with PCI’s Manufacturing Execution System (MES) in order to enable a far greater control of the production shop floor.

“It allowed us to collect more data,” says Chan. “And with that we could improve our overall performance.”

PCI also heavily invested in a system integration, one that revamped its entire quality system and certifying it to a number of standards, including ISO 9001 (Quality Management System (QMS), ISO 13485 (QMS for medical) and ISO/TS 16949 (QMS for automotive).

This particular level of investment was rewarded, with PCI receiving the Singapore Quality Class, a business excellence mark issued by SPRING Singapore.

A challenging landscape

No transformation is without challenge, and to transform in the way that PCI has over the last eight years is certainly no exception.

“The greatest challenge, really, is helping all the team members adapt to change,” says Chan. “We know that in our industry, the only constant is change. In each project implementation, we continue to pay attention to training. The key to mastering a specific skillset or capability within the organisation is to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Amidst the quest for versatility and agility, PCI is supported by its supply partners. For Chan, in the eyes of the customer the supply chain is as strong as its weakest link, and the continuous challenge that PCI faces is identifying and working with the right partner who has the right capabilities for the company’s needs.

“It’s important to know where our own strengths and weaknesses are, and to find the right supply partner who can complement us in the right way so that we can elevate on one another’s strength to offer the best value proposition for our customers,” says Chan.

As one of the key areas for investment, technology has played a significant role in the transformation of PCI, and with the pace of technological change growing faster and faster, will continue to drive growth.

“It’s important to keep abreast of the latest developing in technology innovation. IT gives us more options in approaching any kind of challenges that we may face,” says Chan.

But as many companies innovate and implement new technologies, there can be the temptation to innovate for innovation’s sake. Chan, however, understands this changing landscape all too well.

“Not all technology may be relevant,” he says. “It is more important to know what we need, and what the technology can offer, rather than to just be always ahead of the technology innovation curve.”

Powered by people

A major core value for the company is its people, and PCI goes to great lengths to secure the services of its skilled workforce long term, with a large portion of its staff being with the company for more than 10 years.

“Each year, PCI has a long list of long service award recipients during our annual dinner and dance,” says Chan. “This is something that we at PCI are proud of. We have an open work culture which brings about sufficient trust amongst peers and management that everyone is working towards a common goal of continuous improvement.”

While the company truly values the talent and the workforce already in its family, the company cannot ignore the future and the workforces of tomorrow. In Singapore, talent acquisition is a challenge for a number of manufacturing companies and so PCI works hard to attract the younger generations into a career in the industry.

“We run a management trainee program to recruit and nurture fresh graduates with high potential. We give them a chance to participate in key projects together with more experienced colleagues, providing them access to senior management, while their career progression is being monitored by a mentor,” says Chan.

Over the last 30 years, PCI has grown, continued to innovate and remain as a manufacturer of choice, but the company cannot rest on its laurels.

Chan speaks to the age of digitalisation, with electronics manufacturing outsourcing continuing to expand at a rapid rate, with PCI being well positioned and consisting of all the right capabilities and experience to ride this wave and propel it to greater heights.

“The vision for the company is to continue to be the EMS partner of choice for OEM companies who are leaders in their own field,” he says. “This is achieved through a strong spirit in continuous improvement, and achieving excellence in all the strategic projects that we do.”

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