PART 2: East West’s manufacturing model produces savings without sacrificing quality
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second article in a two-part series focused on an Atlanta-based company that helps manufacturers across the country produce high-quality, lower costs goods in places like China, India and Viet Nam.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
When Scott Ellyson joined DiversiTech in 1999, he brought his manufacturing expertise to the company as its Vice President of Offshore Manufacturing and Logistics. Two years later, he joined with colleague Jeff Sweeney to start East West Manufacturing, a rapidly growing contract manufacturer for Fortune 100 companies.
Today, Atlanta-based East West produces more than 5,000 products for others, utilizing factories in China, India and Viet Nam as well as the U.S. Its core areas of manufacturing expertise are in metals, plastics, rubber, and electronics.
A review of East West’s webpage shows that its serves a number of industries – industrial automation, air and water moving systems, security and safety, building efficiency, Tier 1 automotive, power generation and distribution, material handling, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), and medical.
“We produce 67 different product families in the HVAC sector,” Ellyson says. “We produce two million motors a year with a joint venture partner in China.”
In the industrial automation and robotics space, East West manufactures robotic arms and other autonomous robotic sub-assemblies. The company more recently entered the medical arena.
“It’s small but growing faster than other areas,” Ellyson says.
The evolution in products and overall growth are directly aligned with the geographic expansion of the East West manufacturing footprint.
In 2007, East West opened its own factory in Viet Nam that is ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2003 certified in the medical device space. Ellyson says the country was selected in part because “we were too concentrated in China.”
That was just one reason, however. The decision also reflects the company’s continual analysis of the best locations to produce quality products at the most competitive price.
“The rubber we were using in one product made in China came from Viet Nam,” Ellyson noted. So, East West moved the production to the place where the raw material originated and brought its quality processes to the new plant.
“This resulted in a 30 to 40 percent savings,” Ellyson said.
More recently, East West has expanded into India because of the country’s expertise in metals and stainless steel.
For those who are concerned about the loss of jobs to other countries, Ellyson is a realist, noting the U.S. has some advantages but also disadvantages.
“It is unreasonable to think we are good at everything,” he says of the U.S. “We don’t grow rubber here. We don’t make magnets here.”
Ellyson’s view is straight-forward. He says that East West serves its customers by finding the best geographic “areas where we can make our customers as efficient as possible, whether a full product or some component.” After all, it’s about competitiveness in a global market.