Make to Order / Engineer to Order Companies

Dr Chris Hicks, Department of MMM Engineering,
Stephenson Building, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle NE1 7RU.

Many of the manufacturing companies in the North East of England are make, or engineer to order suppliers of capital goods. Research has been conducted with a group of companies whose main business activities include the design, manufacture and construction of capital equipment, such as turbine generators, boilers and switch gear for the power industry or oil rigs for the offshore industry.

Individual products are usually highly customised to meet individual customer requirements and are produced in very low volumes.  Engineer to order (ETO) supply involves a non-physical stage that include activities such as engineering design and process planning, and a physical stage that concerns component manufacturing, assembly and installation. There are normally two stages of interaction between ETO/MTO suppliers and their customers and suppliers.

Some companies manufacture a number of product families such as main product, spares and subcontract items using the same manufacturing facilities. The major products have deep and complex product structures with many levels of assembly. Components are manufactured using a range of jobbing, batch, flow and assembly processes. Final construction and commissioning of the main products often takes place at customers' sites. Price and delivery performance are generally the main order winning criteria. Product quality and features are generally order qualifiers. The spares and subcontract items mainly have shallow product structures.

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© Dr Christian Hicks, Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Newcastle upon Tyne