He who moves not forward goes backward. These words by Goethe have not lost their meaning in the 21st century. The constantly changing market - consumers’ needs, constant development of technologies - forces companies not only to master a certain level of skills, but also to constantly follow trends, improve their own workshop and the products and services they offer.
The key to achieving and maintaining success is therefore not only developing innovations, but also the ability to introduce a new or changed product on the market. For such a project to be successful, you need to have an appropriate plan for implementing it into production, and you need to work with the NPI engineers or contract manufacturers who will carry out this plan. Preparing and then following an organised and well-planned NPI process is an essential part of a smoothly running system.
What is new product introduction?
The new product introduction (NPI) process includes all activities undertaken within an organisation to define, develop and market a new or improved product or service.
Activities involved in the new product introduction usually start after the product has been designed and developed, dealing with its introduction to the market. NPI manufacturing is no exception in this respect. The arrangement of the NPI process is unique to a particular company, so each EMS provider may have a different one, depending on the organisation, and in some cases it may even differ within different departments of the same company. For the process to be successful, it must have the full, active support for its operation from senior management of all departments and teams involved. The effectiveness of new product introduction relies heavily on cross-departmental communication and teamwork.
For practical and cost reasons, it is important to create a new product introduction plan early. The earlier it is created, the more organised and time-efficient its implementation will be and the more mistakes can be avoided. A good EMS provider can develop a new product introduction plan and has the tools to effectively manage the process so that its contract electronics manufacturing runs smoothly.
NPI process for products already in production
The NPI process, while primarily concerned with new products on the market, can be implemented for all projects already in operation. How?
NPI manufacturing can be transferred to a different EMS provider. If a company has assembled a product at one EMS provider, moving with that product to another contract manufacturer, that product should go through the NPI process at that manufacturer. For a non-EMS contract manufacturer, this is a new product to be implemented on their production lines, requiring machines to be programmed and an NPI engineers to prepare for this particular project.
Why is the NPI process so important?
Because it works. Most organisations that are successful in bringing innovation to market realise the importance of implementing a systemic solution such as the new product introduction process. Developing a new product is really about developing the right product, at the right time and cost, so a robust NPI process is what can make the difference between success and failure for a product.
When working with a subcontractor, such as your NPI engineers, it makes sense to introduce and discuss new product introduction solutions with your counterparty, who can provide their expertise. NPI manufacturing gains added value for the EMS provider through this approach.
Advantages of implementing new product introduction
- improves product quality at an early stage of production - the NPI process includes methods to ensure continuous production of high-quality products that meet the customer’s needs,
- helps to avoid errors, which saves funds during serial production,
- improves production efficiency by using DFM and DFMA in the early stages of design,
- saves time, allowing the product to be brought to the market faster, by reducing product development time,
- reduces development costs by avoiding late design changes, multiple revisions and repetition of costly validation tests,
- increases end user satisfaction, as a well designed and manufactured product equals a high level of customer satisfaction.
The NPI process is a very important step during planning and at the initial stage of practical implementation of a project, therefore a growing number of companies decide to introduce it as a standard in implementing their products into regular production.
Assel has been implementing this process for many years for our customers, therefore we know that our own success depends on the success of our customer’s product.