Every year, companies present all the novelties at the fair in the hope of distributors, dealers, and potential customers. Companies constantly improve existing products or introduce the latest “new” models. Many people don’t imagine all the hard work put into designing, developing, and introducing new products. Is it also done for PCB products? Yes, of course. Let’s find out why PCB Assembly suppliers use NPI, although it requires the dedication of time and resources of the entire company.
These new products that consumers expect require correct and in-depth information, time, and dedicated resources from across the organization. The most successful companies developing and introducing a new development or evolution follow an organized and well-planned process. New Product Introduction (NPI) means all the activities necessary to bring a new industrial product to the market. Whenever a new design is created and a decision is made to go into its engineering and then into production, new products are introduced.
What is a new product introduction (NPI)?
The New Product Introduction (NPI) program covers all activities within an organization to define, develop and market a new or improved product. The product can be something tangible, such as in the case of a new car model, or intangible, as in the case of the specific service offered.
Many organizations use therms NPI (New Product Introduction) and NPD (New Product Development) interchangeably. However, NPI activities start after design and development in some cases and only concern product-to-market, marketing, and production.
The NPI process can vary greatly depending on the organization. In some cases, it may even differ from branch to branch of the same company. However, for the NPI process to succeed, it must have complete management support in all departments.
The role of NPI in PCB assembly
Experienced electronics manufacturers know that the implementation of the NPI process for PCB assembly is a must nowadays. To optimize processes and minimize costs, they must use the NPI feature, which allows them to avoid possible corrections, changes, or repeating tests at a very early stage of assembly. To put it bluntly, the implementation of NPI solutions guarantees the repeatability of the production process of high-quality products, and at the same time, prevents many future errors and minimizes the risk of unexpected costs.
Typically, the introduction of new products is a stage of the industrial process that results from the need to solve specific problems, such as:
- Excessively high level of impossibility during the manufacturing process
- Low yields during production
- Difficulties in meeting delivery dates
- Product reliability issues
- Too long times of preparing data for display
- Too much workforce needed to manage problems
Only reliable contract electronics manufacturers (EMS) that use NPI can support OEMs in preventing the problems mentioned above, solve them if they occur, and thus consistently provide customers with high-quality products.
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Why implement the NPI process?
Most successful organizations recognize the importance of implementing the NPI process. In a highly competitive market, companies need to develop the right product at the right time and at the correct cost. Creating and following a robust NPI process can succeed or fail to bring a new product to market. Besides, it has many other benefits.
NPI enables you to strengthen your competitiveness by optimizing the PCB development process from design to production. The direct effects include:
- Development cost: reducing the cost by facilitating and more reliable data exchange with customers, taking into account their expectations in the early stages of the project, avoiding late changes, multiple revisions, and costly multiple validation tests
- Time-to-market: Reducing the time-to-market of a new product allows for faster profitability.
- Manufacturing: The definition of Good Manufacturing Practices provides for more efficient production
- Quality: The NPI process includes tools to ensure consistent product quality
This overall efficiency increases the line utilization rate and, consequently, the profitability of the means of production.
How to implement NPI into PCB assembly
NPI is a highly complex procedure based on which several separate models and schemas have been defined. As a result, there is no single, best scenario for implementing the NPI process that will work for every company. However, there are some permanent elements that every manufacturer should take care of:
In the NPI process, each newly implemented product will receive an individual number from the engineers. It will be visible in all product documents and every phase of the entire NPI process. Automating this stage will speed up the process and avoid potential, costly errors caused by manual data completion.
#2 Planning first-party
The launch of a new product requires careful planning to ensure optimal results. Among other things, it is necessary to analyze and plan the first batch carefully. You should not produce the entire collection in the first batch, just as you cannot start building the first batch without having all the necessary information and materials. So first, make sure your engineers have all the required data and equipment to make the first batch so that there is no unnecessary downtime at a later stage.
In addition, it is essential to produce only a part of the batch in the first batch and verify that they are correct. Then, if everything is fine, production can continue. That is a great way to avoid costly losses.
# 3 Control
NPI engineers should constantly supervise the assembly, and all their conclusions and observations should be up-to-date and reliably documented.
# 4 Charter change and product release
Before a product is released, the engineering team should finalize its documentation tasks and process performance review. If they consider the process unsatisfactory, they should make this clear to the client. On the other hand, if the entire NPI process is positively assessed by the engineer, the status of future products changes, and a report is created that explains the product building process and describes any problems that arose during the assembly phase.
NPI: It’s not just about the product
Introducing a new product is not just about delivering the product to the market. The idea is to introduce this product in the most efficient, timely, and effective way possible. It is hard to imagine a professional EMS assembly supplier not having an NPI process implemented. The result may seem distant, but this process guarantees the correctness of the electromechanical assembly.