~ How Beacon Provides Cable and Wire Harness Solutions for Expanding Product Line
The average person could perceive Airtronics’ focus – airplanes and electronics – to be extremely narrow. Airtronics is actually an incredibly diversified organization that specializes in supporting thousands of unique products and services through innovative engineering and depth of expertise. For 42 years Airtronics has been serving the aerospace industry, providing top-quality aircraft repair, manufacturing, machine shop and design services for the Army, Navy, Air National Guard and Air Force, as well as other international customers. As one of the larger prime contractors for the Department of Defense (DOD) in Arizona, (ranked 14th according to number of contracts according to the Phoenix Business Journal), Airtronics is committed to the highest level of quality and on-time delivery. With three unique divisions, and a strategic approach to identifying a diverse set of very specific needs in the aerospace industry, diversification could be one of Airtronics’ superpowers.
Beacon Group has played a small role in Airtronics ability to apply their skills to so many different projects with such great success. With their expansive repertoire of capabilities, Airtronics has maintained their reputation as a repair source for items historically considered non-repairable. And they have also expanded their manufacturing division by introducing new solutions at a rate of around 50 additional products a year. Airtronics is so good at engineering better solutions, that they can use help on some of the assembly, particularly the cable and wire harness work, electromechanical assembly, and small printed circuit board assembly. Says owner Brad Smith, “We look for suppliers to help us out with some of our time consuming sub-assembly, so that we can really focus on what we do best – the things that only WE can do.”
Dave Shuman, Project Engineer at Airtronics, got involved early in the process and has continued to help find new opportunities for Beacon and Airtronics to partner together. “Outsourcing to Beacon Group saves Airtronics the hassle of gearing-up for many smaller facets of manufacturing, and evens out our labor needs,” explains Shuman.”Beacon is very responsive!”
Airtronics realizes cost advantages to offloading some of the tasks, but more importantly, they free up internal resources in a way that allows them to engage more in the wide-ranging needs of their demanding customer base. In this way, Airtronics is constantly able to diversify into new product areas as a qualified source, while continuing to offer quality and turn-around on existing items.
Smith mentions that as a supplier, Beacon matches Airtronics’ diverse interests, because “they can handle a variety of different manufacturing and assembly projects well, and they are easy to work with.” He has been impressed with the competency and quality of the non-profit’s production work, and is looking for more ways to insert Beacon into their processes.
Employees in Beacon Group’s cable and harness assembly production department have worked on a wide range of projects including cable assembly and prep, hand assembly of printed circuit boards, and a complete battery pack unit that is part of night vision goggles for pilots. Scott Neal, Beacon Group’s manufacturing manager, states that working with Airtronics has excited some employees to want to pursue new and interesting work on the production floor. “It’s great to see Beacon workers motivated to progress to higher level projects,” says Neal. “Contracts with sophisticated companies like Airtronics make it possible for us to invest in multiple production levels and expand training programs, so that we continue to provide a variety of interesting assignments, and expanded employment options, for our people.”
But that is not what is on Airtronics radar. “It speaks to how great a job that Beacon Group does, that we often forget that they serve two markets, says Smith, referring to Beacon’s Group’s employment services for people with disabilities. “When we interact on a business level, we’re not looking at Beacon as some kind of charity, we’re looking at them as a business partner.”
Smith does recall that what originally drew him to Beacon Group was the mission. “In addition to responsivity and quality, working with Beacon is a ‘double-whammy’ because as we get our business needs met, we are also supporting an organization that helps make meaningful employment more accessible to people with disabilities.”
This is another example of Airtronics’ superpowers – benevolent business practice.
For more information about Airtronics. For more information about Beacon Group Wire Harness and Cable Assembly.