What are the Best Practices of New Product Introduction (NPI) in Electronics Manufacturing?

What are the Best Practices of New Product Introduction (NPI) in Electronics Manufacturing?

Nov 06,2019 Today, electronic contract manufacturers understand that to gain competence, they need to introduce new products in the market at faster rates than others. With increasing complexity in designs, sometimes the time-to-market capabilities take a back seat for electronic contract manufacturers. However, a carefully planned execution of steps right from conceptualization to delivery can help them ease the complexities associated with New Product Introduction (NPI). This post discusses the best practices of NPI and its advantages.

7 Steps of New Product Introduction (NPI) in Electronics Manufacturing

An NPI comprises all the activities concerned with a new product development right from the conceptualization to launch and implementation phase. The product can be a tangible item such as a printed circuit board or a chip or intangible items such as services. In many situations, the term NPI is used interchangeably with new product development (NPD). The NPI can be easily broken into the following steps:
  1. Define: This is the first step of any NPI. In this phase, the product’s expected functional performance and other requirements are defined. This may include defining primary objectives, background information, project scope, key deliverables, project stakeholders, and so on. The product functional requirements are transformed into designs using the quality function deployment (QFD) process.
  2. Feasibility Analysis: In this phase, the team of experts will evaluate the chances of success of a project. The product design concepts are reviewed, refined, and finalized. The gate review is conducted, where all applicable information regarding the product such as its manufacturing, and implementation are discussed.
  3. Development: In this phase, the activities are more aligned towards the development. The concept of Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is taken into account. Everything related to the project right from final design testing to part availability to engineering verification is completed in this phase. A few common activities conducted in this phase include 3D models, concept level drawings, bill of materials (BOM), DFM/A reviews, and so on.
  4. Testing: In this phase, the product is analyzed for its strengths and weaknesses. The product or service is thoroughly analyzed for its appropriateness right from its conceptualization and design to manufacturing phases.
  5. Implementation: This process follows the testing, and here all documentation related to the product is created such as manuals, catalogue/quote/ manuals, external training of sales, and so on.
  6. Evaluation: This phase usually follows the product implementation. In this phase, the team aims to complete any remaining documentation, product review, and also collect and analyze the customer feedback.
  7. Full-scale Production: Once the product undergoes all the above phases, it goes into full-scale production and is shipped to potential customers.

What are the Advantages of Implementing New Product Introduction (NPI) in Electronics Manufacturing

The industry leaders in electronic contract manufacturing have already realized the importance of NPI. It has become imperative for small and mid-sized businesses to follow the same. They understand that a well-defined NPI process will help them create robust and successful products. Those who have already implemented it have realized the following benefits:
  1. Improved Production Efficiencies: During NPI, manufacturers employ the best practices of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFM/DFA), and this helps them streamline their manufacturing process efficiently.
  2. Reduce Manufacturing Costs: Streamlined processes, combined with the voice of customer (VOC) in the early stages of development, enables the design team to make requisite changes before it gets too late. This allows them to reduce late design changes, revisions, or validation testing, which add to the manufacturing costs.
  3. Improved Product Quality: The NPI process always takes into account the best practices of design, engineering, and testing, which help assure the best quality of products. This also allows manufacturers to produce good quality products on a consistent basis.
  4. Fast Time to Market Capabilities: There are several critical factors that affect the manufacturing times such as design errors, material mismatch, manufacturing defects, and more. All these are perfectly taken care of during the NPI. This helps improve the time to market capabilities.
So, the next time when you approach a contract manufacturing for PCB assembly, you should provide them various documents such as product requirements documents (PRD), BoM, assembly instructions, schematics, approved part vendors, CAD drawings, PCB files, and sales forecast. These files will help them initiate and complete NPI effectively, and also allow you gain the competitive advantage in the market with improved time-to-market capabilities.