The market is heating up as companies come up with new and innovative products and want to get them to the marketplace, pronto. With the world rather shut down for almost a year and a half, innovators had time to think about and create these new inventions.
The pandemic created needs for products we have not even thought about before. Everything from medical devices like purification systems and low-cost respirators to COVID tests and packaging temperature indicators to make sure that vaccines were shipped at the proper temperatures. The demand for innovations for existing products such as automatic door openers, faucets, and toilets to automatic no-touch everything else are hitting the market as we speak.
Additionally, we are seeing an increasing demand for products to counter cyberattacks. Then there is the issue of security and protection of intellectual property which is creating severe challenges in terms of the supply chain with companies being much more concerned about where their products are being built and who is actually seeing their own IP.
Don’t get me wrong, these are all very good things, but they are also creating challenges for those of us in the time to market business. Now more than ever, our customers want their products not just yesterday, but it seems like they wanted them last year.
To help with there new world order conditions, here are 10 things you as a customer can do to make help your PCB and PCBA vendor get your products to market that much faster:
- Look and use a vendor who can provide a complete synergistic solution. You want to use a company that can do it all. One phone call, one purchase order, one point of sales, one company. It is so much easier that way. Especially when you are talking NPI (new product introduction).
- Look for a supplier than can provide you with alternatives of where your product is built. They need to have both domestic and global solutions. There are reasons and advantages for having both resources.
- Make sure that your data packages are perfect. There is too much time is wasted by sending your supplier incomplete, or worse yet, flawed data packages. You want to make sure that your package is perfect.
- Have a supplier who knows enough about your product needs to help correct your package if it is indeed incorrect or flawed in anyway. You have to have a supplier you can trust enough to listen to when it comes to fixing or improving your data in order to produce the best end manufacturable end product.
- Use a supplier with a proven track record for consistent and reliable on-time delivery as well as perfect quality. Remember that if you take time to do it right in the first place you will save all that time you would waste if you had to do it over.
- Don’t set unrealistic goals. Look, we all know what it talks to build and assemble an assembly. So often we will see, shall we say, over-zealous customers who will apply so much pressure on their suppliers that they will get them to commit to unrealistic delivery dates that they have no chance of ever making it. Be realistic!
- Work on your pre-vendor schedule. So many times, our customers are already behind the eight ball when it comes to delivery demands because they took too long in product development. They took too long doing the design and ate up all the time to market so that by the time they come to the vendor who is going to actually build and assemble the boards there is very little time left. Apply the same pressure on your own people rather than your vendors. There is just so much time to market suppliers can do to make up for time lost before that orders even got to them. In fact, this is the single most challenging issue we face when it comes to critical time to market goals.
- Choose your parts carefully. When considering time to market challenges, consider parts shortages and availability. Try to consider component availability when it comes to choosing the right components or even the laminates to build the bare boards themselves. If you call out components and other materials that are rare, obsolete or unavailable at the time, your project will be dead in the water before you even start it. Be careful what you choose.
- Get all of your product changes and revisions done prior to sending the order to your supplier. Revision changes are costly not only in terms of dollars but in terms of that most priceless of all commodities—time.
- Work with your vendor not against them. You will get much more out of your vendors if you are willing to work with them in a cooperative fashion. After all, once you place that order with them, your future is in their hands.
Imran Valiani is an account manager at Rush PCB. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.