The province of Alberta, Canada is more often known for oil fields and multi-day rodeos, yet August Electronics has carved a market for itself here by focusing on being an efficient, one-stop shop for contract electronics manufacturing.
At August Electronics, clients can see their designs improved upon and brought to life through August’s global network of suppliers, client-focused manufacturing processes and design for manufacturability consulting. The company aims to be a flexible and trusted outsourced manufacturing partner, bringing a well-established quality management system and state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment to each client engagement.
August Electronics engages with nearly every industry from oil and gas to power generation and renewable energy through to health and wellness, as well as consumer electronics. The company’s expertise spans from seemingly simple products such as foot pressure monitors to complex products such as gas analyzers and power supplies that involve stringent inspection and testing requirements to meet safety and industry regulations. While the majority of August’s PCB assembly process has become fully automated, the electro-mechanical and final assemblies utilize a client-tailored approach, leveraging both automation as well as the company’s technically trained production floor employees.
As the company looks forward, it holds firm regarding its quality-focused and tailored approach to client service to which it believes the competition cannot compare. The world of contract electronics manufacturing tends to fit clients into their one-size-fits-all manufacturing models, whereas August Electronics offers a reprieve with its flexible manufacturing model tailored to each client’s unique requirements throughout the product lifecycle. The company works collaboratively with each client to find the best way to engage, thereby truly becoming an extension of their business. Bringing the client into the process gives them a full view of the manufacturing challenges and process as well as fostering collaborative solutions.
Taking this customer-centric approach gives the client the opportunity to engage with August’s experts who will be manufacturing their designs and work as an extension of the client’s own team, resulting in a seamless transition from design and production to delivering the desired product to the end customer.
August’s established quality management system and flexible approach have become well-refined over the company’s nearly thirty years in business. Understanding supply chains and manufacturing challenges gives the company an edge when it comes to setting up efficient production lines, and August brings value by applying its expertise in optimizing product designs for volume manufacturing through its design for manufacturability (DFM) report.
By optimizing the client’s designs for volume manufacturing, August Electronics often helps them adapt quickly to changing market conditions. This could come in the way of changes to the design to make use of components with shorter lead times, or reconfiguring parts that would add unnecessary time to the production process. Local manufacturing such as this brings a higher level of quality and allows clients to retain more control over their intellectual property.
Today, the company’s approach to design and manufacturing remains underpinned by the principles on which it was founded. Jack Francis and Peter Wilson possessed years of experience in the electronics industry and combined their efforts to create August Electronics in 1991. Starting in design with a pocketful of contacts allowed Jack and Peter to be noticed early on as large companies in need of their expertise quickly saw the value of their capabilities.
“From the very beginning the vision for August wasn’t to become an OEM with our own products. We started out designing and building products for a couple of major companies,” said Peter Wilson. “Through our early success with power supplies for thermoelectric generators and hazardous gas monitors we realized the value we could add as an outsourced electronics manufacturer for OEMs to build their product and support their go-to market strategy. In fact, we’re still making some of those first client products to this day.”
Through designing and refining conceptual prototypes for others, August realized that manufacturing was its true strength. The team’s history of design gives them a unique approach from a manufacturing perspective, an approach that clients appreciate. With this early project success, August Electronics had put itself on the map and from there grew via word of mouth.
The company has since grown to a team of 120 employees, with the majority being production staff, while the office staff is composed of engineering, supply chain, business development, quality, administration and production disciplines. Despite a bit of economic turbulence in Calgary, August Electronics persevered, given the wide reach of industries and applications the company’s clients and expertise span across, so August continually experiences exposure and opportunity.
Now settled into a new 85,000-square-foot production facility, which took a year to fully design, August Electronics is looking forward to a future of smart and sustained growth. This purpose-built facility has room to spare for the inevitable increase in production volume, and occupying it is further reinforcing August’s culture of developing long-term partnerships with OEMs and start-ups while creating more employment opportunities. This is just one example of how August is investing in itself and its future.
Relaunching its brand this March, August Electronics hopes to become more visible and break down some of the long-held perceptions of the manufacturing industry. Local manufacturing is often overlooked, and many potential clients may not even be aware that they can have their product made right in Calgary. Yet manufacturing here at home boasts a number of key advantages: domestic manufacturing can provide flexibility, increased quality control and hands-on attention, and a greater ability to troubleshoot issues and safeguard clients’ intellectual property.
As on-shore manufacturing becomes just as competitive as off-shore manufacturing, August Electronics sees this as the right time to get the message out there that working collaboratively to produce products locally is the way to go.