Then and Now: How We’re Addressing the Demands of Extraordinary Growth and Acceleration in Manufacturing
Since 2017, Hiller Measurements has been humbled by extraordinary growth in our business, as our willingness to address complex power, RF, and mixed signal test system design aligned with robust demand for those services from some of the largest mission-critical product companies in the world.
Humbled is an entirely appropriate term for this growth in our case as we’ve both enjoyed our acceleration in test system market share and been challenged as we’ve scaled our operation and capabilities.
At times during the process, we’ve had to face sobering realities such as discovering idiosyncrasies we could live with as a small team but no longer could at scale, and subtle process inefficiencies when we were a small team that became enormous opportunities for improvement as we grew.
Hiller Measurements Flow Control (HMFC™) Developed to Meet Client Demands
To delight our clients, mitigate risks we’d been living with, and deliver Quality@Speed™ we’d never thought possible, we created Hiller Measurements Flow Control (HMFC™), a growing and evolving set of principles, process, and innovations to address continued growth and value within our organization.
At its core, our mission is to deliver Quality@Speed™ through HMFC and our guiding ethos is the truth succeeds on its own merit. In both our mission and ethos, we focus on delivering the greatest value to our clientele, and ensuring innovation works. I’ve shared more about these pillars of HMFC in prior posts about Quality@Speed, truth, and ensuring innovation works.
Results and Lessons Learned of Delivering Quality@Speed
We’ve accepted the truth that we can be an entirely better organization. Hiller Measurements can deliver new value to our industry while removing complexity in our enterprise. Because of this, we can set new standards in the test development industry.
Over the last few years, we’ve re-thought manual processes, leaned them out, added new tools, developed a model-based approach to design, removed supply chain risk, and embraced agile development approaches, all of which are supported by our new digital tool set, providing the backbone for true digital thread across our enterprise.
In doing all of this, we’re coming to realize several other fundamental truths:
1. There’s room for a revolution in expectations. Having better answers to old questions is the path to evolve a business. Re-framing the questions is the path to revolution.
For example, we’ve stopped trying to fix execution problems with extra steps, reviews, and process requiring perfection prior to executing critical path items. Instead, we’ve developed new tools and process enabling Hiller Measurements teams to “fail fast, early, and often” (that’s the easy part…clichés usually are!) and then recover from failure in minutes, rather than months. In every part of our organization, we’re looking for a tight OODA loop (OODA loop, you say? Learn more here.) With just this example, we can deliver better quality products in radically less time.
2. Industry 4.0 isn’t fully understood…yet holds enormous potential. As we’ve defined what digital transformation means for our business, we’ve discovered many people talk about it without really understanding what it means.
For Hiller Measurements, it involves basic ideas of removing silos of communication and data in a model-based environment empowering less manual work, less documentation, and vastly improved workflows. The introduction of the ProteusATE family of design platforms is our first offering leveraging Industry 4.0 implementations to date. Our digital journey is still in its early stages and has been challenging to execute but is overwhelmingly valuable and scalable for us and our clients as we both grow.
3. Elon Musk was right. In a recent interview and tour of SpaceX’s Starbase, Elon Musk said “Manufacturing is underrated and design is overrated.” That could not have been said any better.
Core to our thinking at Hiller Measurements is this: How do we design our enterprise to provide a customized design capability and client value while delivering with the efficiency, cycle time, and determinism approaching a COTS product business? How do we do this without monolithic, standard ATE platforms that are typically overkill and expensive for a client application?
The ProteusATE™ family is Hiller’s answer to these relevant challenges. We’re building “The machine that makes the machines” for customized, automated test systems set apart from what has existed in the past.
It’s indeed a thrilling time to be part of the Hiller Measurements journey!
Our Solution: ProteusATE™, a Platform for Custom Test System Design
In Greek mythology, Proteus was the firstborn son of Poseidon, and was known as the god of rivers and oceanic bodies. He was known to be able to flow and change shape. Thus, developing our first set of innovations with HMFC™ as the foundation to drive revolutionary value in customized test equipment seemed to be the perfect reason to name this series after such a mythological god.
ProteusRF, Custom RFIUs in Weeks
Our first of at least five releases within the ProteusATE™ family is ProteusRF™, a digital design platform for the design, manufacture, and support of custom RF interface units (RFIUs). With this first release, we’ve developed a generous catalog of Hiller Measurements-vetted, world-class RF components, cables, and related parts within a supply chain risk-mitigated catalog, ready to be used within our model-based design environment. Through an agile, collaborative design session with our clientele, which can be completed in a few hours, we can design and move to immediate fabrication once an order is placed, enabling Hiller Measurements to reduce lead times from 6+ months for a first article shipment to as little as 4 weeks with our approach.
Learn more about ProteusRF here: hillermeas.com/capabilities/proteusrf
Want to learn how we can support your program needs for RFIU with deliveries as short as these? Schedule some time with us to learn more about this ground-breaking capability!
In the coming months, Hiller will continue to release more revolutionary ProteusATE capabilities that truly redefine what’s possible in delivering Quality@Speed™ in test system design. If you’d like to be the first to know when each of these capabilities release, let us know at [email protected].