Case Study

Fortune 500 Electronics Manufacturer Makes Collaboration a Competitive Advantage…and Saves $2 Million A Year


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By moving to G Suite, Sanmina improved company-wide collaboration with video conferencing, strengthened quality-control procedures via Google Forms, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, created a scalable foundation for more flexible, collaborative work, cut email server usage by 90%, and saved $2 million per year on total cost of ownership.

When electronics manufacturer Sanmina adopted G Suite several years ago, its goals were clear: reduce licensing costs, simplify management—particularly of its messaging tools—and cut hardware expenditures.

Fast forward several years and the Fortune 500 company has achieved those goals and more. By moving to Gmail, Sanmina reduced more than 110 email servers by over 90%, freed up its IT support function from basic administration to focus on more valuable tasks, and saved $2 million a year on total cost of ownership (including over $1.5 million a year on IT licensing).

A long-term plan: cloud collaboration

For Sanmina CIO Manesh Patel, the impressive returns are part of a bigger plan. From the beginning, Manesh recognized the potential of moving to the cloud to facilitate collaboration across Sanmina’s global operations. With more than 45,000 employees across 26 countries delivering different elements of a global value chain from design to delivery, the benefits of improving collaboration were clear. It could open up innovation by drawing on ideas from different locations and teams and enhance quality control throughout the manufacturing process.

As the first step towards this compelling vision, Manesh focused on rolling out Gmail and Calendar. Both applications were already familiar to many employees and offered a straightforward route to embrace cloud services. With cost savings quickly following, colleagues across Sanmina could see clear benefits from the shift to the cloud.

At the same time, Sanmina made the full suite of tools available and allowed adoption to occur organically across the organization.

Driving adoption

As interest in cloud computing grew, G Suite provided an ideal platform for employees to explore new ways of working together—with some parts of the business swift to develop effective uses for the collaborative tools. Building on the work of these leaders, Manesh has promoted adoption of the suite on several fronts over the past 18 months. Manufacturing, Quality, Engineering, and Supply Chain are a few examples of early adopters that benefit from the improved collaboration in G Suite.

The company also looked to build greater awareness of new G Suite features and functions. It engaged with Google partner Maven Wave. “Maven Wave has been a terrific and responsive partner,” he says. “They’re open and adapted their approach to our needs, while bringing a core competency on G Suite.” Maven Wave brought the experience of working with other global companies on similar initiatives, and an effective change management methodology that was tailored to fit Sanmina’s culture.

“Hangouts Meet fundamentally changes how people interact; you can put a face to a name and really engage with your team. It’s as close as you can get to meeting in person.”

– Manesh Patel, CIO, Sanmina

The messaging tools were not being used to full effect either. When Gmail was first introduced, training was optional; some of the teams were therefore not familiar with features such as attaching documents from Google Drive or archiving content. To help ensure the whole business was using Gmail to its full potential, there has been strong internal promotion of Google’s easy-to-use, online G Suite Training tools. “It’s very easy to consume and very effective,” says Manesh.

Embracing collaboration

Today, Sanmina employees rely daily on several G Suite tools, including Docs, Sheets, Slides, and most recently Hangouts Meet.

“More and more of our employees use Hangouts Meet. Our employees often work as part of teams that are dispersed around the world, so they don’t have the chance to actually meet their colleagues,” Manesh explains. “Hangouts Meet fundamentally changes how people interact; you can put a face to a name and really engage with your team. It’s as close as you can get to meeting in person.”

Manesh acknowledges that this is not simply a result of technological change, but a cultural shift as people grow more comfortable with video calls in their personal lives. Hangouts Meet brings that same ease of use to professional settings—and even well-traveled executives are adopting Hangouts Meet, appreciating its versatility across multiple platforms.

To encourage further use, the IT team has committed to equipping at least one room in every Sanmina facility around the world with Hangouts Meet hardware. “We definitely expect to save time and reduce travel costs with Hangouts Meet,” Manesh confirms. “But the bigger benefit for us is definitely the way it brings people together.”

Collaborating across teams and communities

With that goal in mind, Manesh has also promoted several other collaboration tools—in particular Hangouts ChatReveal, and Team Drives.

“More and more of our communications take place via Chat, whether in a team environment or one-to-one setting,” he says. “It’s the asynchronous tool that works alongside Hangouts Meet, for synchronous collaboration.”

Similarly, the use of Reveal—a corporate video sharing platform developed by Maven Wave and Google—is growing. “We’ve just started using Reveal to distribute regular video messages from the CEO to our employees and we also expect it to be a big part of our internal communications,” Manesh says. These videos help keep Sanmina employees aligned with company goals and increase a sense of connectedness across the global organization.

Sharing files between dispersed teams

The move to increase use of Team Drives, meanwhile, is one of Manesh’s priorities. “In every one of our factories worldwide, we have a shared drive on a shared server. We’re in the process of moving those to Team Drives, which will provide a big benefit in terms of infrastructure and in terms of how we work.”

“G Suite enables us to collaborate efficiently and create complex process documents that help us adhere to strict quality control requirements.”

– Manesh Patel, CIO, Sanmina

Manesh and his team have spent a lot of time and effort improving capacity, redundancy, and failover capabilities in preparation for the change. Team Drives should reduce storage requirements and remove challenges and costs tied to back-up and maintenance.

More importantly, the use of Team Drives will mean that files can be shared across multiple sites to further improve collaboration across teams.

Bringing collaboration to the factory floor

The power of G Suite is evident across the organization—from its corporate offices to its factories worldwide. “We’ve had employees creating a Google Sheet, sharing it with five team members, and then displaying it on a big screen on the manufacturing floor so everyone can see the project status,” he explains.

Another key process that is being transformed is quality reporting. The quality team has identified that moving large quantities of required documentation from legacy technologies to G Suite can assist with transparency and version control, routing, and approvals. “G Suite enables us to collaborate efficiently and create complex process documents that help us adhere to strict quality control requirements,” Manesh says.

“We need to empower employees to get the information they need, when they need it, on any device. G Suite makes that happen.”

– Manesh Patel, CIO, Sanmina

Gaining a competitive edge

Sanmina continues to achieve solid year-over-year returns on its investment in G Suite, and those returns will grow with increased adoption. “G Suite really is at the heart of our efforts to get people to work in ways that are more efficient and effective,” Manesh says.

For a company with a rich history of innovation and service, the expanded use of G Suite is another way that Sanmina stands out from competitors. “We need employees to be empowered to get the information they need, when they need it, and on any device. G Suite makes that happen.”

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