The role of an organizer
This is where “organizers” or “solution providers” come in. Organizers partner with manufacturers to help them develop perfectly streamlined end-to-end processes. This is precisely what Mitsui is doing with LCD modules for smartphones. A team of around 50 people in Mitsui’s Advanced Materials Division acts as organizer for a Chinese manufacturer that assembles 50 million LCD modules for high-end smartphones every year.
An annual output of 50 million modules translates to one million units per week, 150,000 units per day, or 1.5 units per second—for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The quantities are staggering. Every month, our partner’s Chinese factory takes delivery of 130 truckloads of materials and components. These are assembled into LCD modules by 5,000 people working on 20 or so production lines and shipped out at the rate of 100 truckloads per month. Since our partner produces 40 varieties of LCD module, each containing around 30 components, the inventory Mitsui has to manage consists of some 1,200 different components.
For such a complex process to function flawlessly at speed, perfect planning and execution are essential. As the organizer, Mitsui has four key responsibilities. These are to (i) control inventory, (ii) organize the delivery of components/materials, (iii) set up, manage and optimize the production process, and (iv) deliver the finished and quality-checked modules to the customer on time.