At Crodeon, one of our core principles is local manufacturing. For us this means we work exclusively with Belgian assembly partners and we have numerous reasons to do so. Read on to find out why this is the right thing to do for Crodeon, especially in the long run.
Every Crodeon Reporter is clearly marked “Designed and assembled in Belgium”. First of all, this makes us stand out from the crowd. To some extent, “made in Belgium” today still stands for quality and reliability, never a bad association. There’s also a much smaller environmental impact when you’re not shipping goods over thousands of kilometers. However, these are not the main reasons why we went along this path.
The main motivation for us to manufacture locally is because we want to stay closely involved with the production process. The team that manufactures a product, and especially the production manager or coordinator experiences first hand which assembly steps are easy and which are hard. After each production run he or she is perfectly positioned to provide feedback to the design team about what works and what doesn’t. By not having this feedback loop we would miss out on critical information on how to design the Reporter for easier manufacturing and higher yield.
I don’t have to explain how this communication between engineering and manufacturing is smoother when they are just 10 km apart instead of 10000. In the long run, this feedback loop is what makes our products excel with regards to reliability and cost. Compared to the far east, our local manufacturers have relatively high labour costs. This forces us to optimize the design of our hardware as much as possible and to keep the amount of steps needed to build, test and deploy a new Reporter to a minimum. At Crodeon we try to automate or eliminate as many production steps as possible, up to a point where the assembly process has become so simple that the hourly wage of the workers is almost irrelevant.
Another reason for us to manufacture locally is our ambition to rebuild the Belgian hardware engineering and electronics manufacturing community. By designing and manufacturing great products with thoughtful branding we want to inspire young people and convince them that STEM (and especially electronics) are awesome. This is also how we can compete internationally and how we can keep our brightest students and engineers from fleeing abroad.
Even though our impact is just a small part of the solution, we want to contribute however we can. Crodeon has been manufacturing locally for six years now, and we have never been more convinced about this. The advantages are showing on a daily basis so don’t expect a change of plans any time soon.