Joe Clayton (below) is Engineering Manager at OSI Electronics UK. He joined in January 2019 from a similar position at another CEM company – indeed, he’s spent most of his career in electronics manufacturing.

The attraction of OSIE UK? “It’s a good place to work: there’s a great team, the equipment is up to spec and the way Derek Williams, OSIE UK’s General Manager, is driving the company attracted me – there’s lots of input I can give to help move the company forward.

“By that I mean upgrading the processes from a base level to larger projects, which will involve capital expenditure and IT infrastructure – I’ve a background in designing and implementing systems and looking at how products can be improved over their lifecycle.”

Implementing design for manufacturing
OSIE UK has always majored on design for manufacturing (DfM) and design for test (DfT) when taking on a new project – it’s another area of Joe’s expertise.

“A lot of CEM companies say they do DfM and DfT but actually don’t, so it was good to come here and find the engineering team have this engrained. It’s the first thing they think about when they see a new product and willingly suggest ways to make it easier and more cost efficient to manufacture – a distinct benefit for customers.

“The interesting thing is the majority of design engineers will have come straight out of university, gone into the design side of things and not necessarily into manufacturing, so they don’t have that first-hand experience of how a product is actually made.

“Visiting our factory and seeing how we make products gives great value to the customer – because of how we handle a product during its build, they understand why we ask them to do ‘this’ or why we prefer them to panelise in a certain way.”

Procedures and systems
Because of his background in system design and implementation, Joe will be using his experience to help the engineering and production teams do their job, making sure they have the right tools, procedures and systems both in place and working properly.

“I’ll also be monitoring equipment on the shop floor and checking the data from the pick and place PCB machines to ensure they run at full efficiency – and checking our maintenance plan procedures, which the engineering department has to keep on top of.”

Like a number of his colleagues, Joe is also very experienced in continuous improvement and lean manufacturing techniques and is keen for the company to embrace them to a greater extent.

“We’re in a really good position as a subsidiary of OSI in the States to accept corporate help and facilities because there’s a lot of information and knowledge we can draw upon – allowing us to adapt proven ideas and processes to suit our manufacturing needs.”

Paperless shop floor
“It will be very beneficial to us and our customers in terms of more efficient manufacturing and cost savings,” he says. “It’s something the management team is working on and one of my tasks is to be part of the process which brings everyone on board, although we recognise it’s two way and what people on the shop floor have to say is important if procedural change is to be implemented successfully.”

None of this is new to the company. “The shop floor is already paperless and there’s a good feedback in place, but there are gaps and opportunities for us to take this to a new level,” says Joe.

“So I will be looking at the data, analysing it, mapping it, identifying where there’s any waste, double handling or whatever and then using it to make recommendations for future investments – and how, as a team, we can improve manufacturing processes, both overall and for individual products while minimising disruption.

“One of the reasons I like the engineering role, especially in a manufacturing environment, is being involved from the very beginning to the very end – there’s no chance of ever being bored and being new here at OSI, there’s much to learn, to look at and, with new eyes, see what can be done, especially as the site has changed fundamentally since the new building came on stream last August.

Joe Clayton leads a team of six at our St Neots HQ. He reports to Derek Williams, General Manager, OSI Electronic UK.

OSI Electronics UK is a subsidiary of Californian based OSI Electronics.

Posted 9th April 2019