Allied Electronics Corporation Limited (Altron)
#TT100 Winner of the 2016 Eskom Award for Excellence in the Management of Systems
Category for large enterprises
Stronger, nimbler and better, together
Going it alone is a business model that belongs in the past; the future will be built on partnerships, with five, six or sometimes more companies combining their skills and strengths to co-create the best solutions for clients.
This is the thinking at Altron – winner of no fewer than five awards in the 2016 TT100 Awards Programme – which may well be ahead of its time in moving away from the traditional “winner takes all” model of doing business.
For Altron, part of systems thinking is the ability to see the bigger picture and realise that one company cannot control it all. It means looking at how innovation can occur across companies working together, with each partner bringing their particular skills and strengths to the value chain.
This model is becoming especially important in mega-projects, such as the City of Tshwane’s broadband access and fibre initiative, where one player is extremely unlikely to have all the skills and resources a project of this scale demands. For big projects like this one, the consortium model can work well, provided everyone knows exactly what they are supposed to do, is accountable for their part and keeps in mind that the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.
Keeping track of the detail
Just as important as seeing the bigger picture, though, is the ability to view and manage the detail. At Altron, this means having the ability to track every product across its lifecycle, from the individual electronic components that go into it on the assembly line to the finished product that is shipped off to its destination anywhere in the world.
Lifecycle management is critical because if something goes wrong, the problem can be quickly traced back and picked up. As a result, Altron manufacturing processes have a very low defect rate.
The same meticulous systems management goes into other Altron business lines, such as Netstar, which monitors 200 000 trucks and 600 000 cars at any given time. This calls for exceptional coordination across different systems, and the ability to process, analyse and make sense of masses of diverse data in real-time, ensuring that the vehicles stay on their routes, away from crime hotspots and free from the clutches of hijackers.
In the end, systems are what keeps a business one step ahead – on the roads and in the marketplace.