Making The Impossible Possible: nLight



Business Challenges

nLight began its partnership with ControlTek on a very small scale. While providing skilled manufacturing labor on a small project, ControlTek program managers impressed nLight’s team with their strength of expertise and dedication to quality.

After that, nLight chose ControlTek to produce the AC Controller for a complex cabinet assembly nLight had designed.

Early on, nLight personnel recognized value in expanding Controltek’s role in the production. The custom nature of the assemblies was a frequent challenge for nLight. Design requirements often changed even though production deadlines did not.

ControlTek’s wealth of expertise presented nLight with a compelling value statement when it received a cabinet order of unprecedented scope and complexity.

nLight then decided to place the cabinet assembly production entirely in the hands of ControlTek. Breadth and depth of expertise, as well as capacity for large scale production made ControlTek the ideal production partner for the cabinet assembly.


The team at ControlTek undertook responsibility for a massive production with evolving design requirements and a narrow production window. They would have to draw on a wide array of EMS capabilities in order to:

·         Integrate with nLight personnel to ensure production adapted to evolving requirements.

·         Engage with the product by building to specifications and communicating when requirements need amendment.

·         Leverage supply chain expertise to source components cost effectively.

·         Become nLight’s logistics partner by meeting custom packaging requirements and shipping directly to the end customer.

nLight was a newer customer facing a tough challenge requiring more than just expertise. ControlTek committed to close two-way communication in every phase of the production. This meant bringing nLight personnel into ControlTek’s facility, integrating them into ControlTek’s processes and working side by side to meet the production challenges.


When the Design Changes and Delivery Expectations Do Not

By the time the cabinets were delivered to the end customer, there had been over two hundred engineering changes. Delivery timelines from the end customer did not significantly change, however. ControlTek worked closely and tirelessly with nLight personnel to make them part of the process, reducing chances for error, mis-communication, or unmet expectations.

Communication is a Two Way Street

ControlTek provided prompt response to dozens of design changes, indicating how those changes could impact cost drivers, production timelines, and overall quality. ControlTek understands a product must be manufactured to its design requirements. They worked diligently to be sure nLight was aware of how amendments to those requirements could lead to product improvements.

Materials Management to Support the Design

Materials management would make or break the profit margins on the cabinet assembly. Due to the time constraints, ControlTek Program Managers had to gather components even as the design requirements were changing. They constantly worked to minimize cost drivers by suggesting alternate parts when appropriate, identifying where in-house custom components could be used, and leveraging bulk discounting where possible.

Going the Last Mile

ControlTek became the nLight Shipping Department by meeting the custom shipping requirements of the cabinet assembly. This capability proved valuable in meeting the tight deadline the end customer asked for.


When nLight’s business grew faster than its infrastructure could, they found an EMS partner equal to the task of manufacturing its complex cabinet assembly. What was impossible for nLight to accomplish at the time was made possible with the help of ControlTek.