The EMS environment has key challenges related to NPI processes. These can include:

  • Resource allocation issues
  • Adequately addressing a wide range of client support needs
  • Ensuring needed flexibility to accommodate quickturn prototyping schedules.

We’ve optimized our NPI process to eliminate these potential issues. Our NPI group exists as a separate “focused” factory within the main factory, with a dedicated core team and production resources. The NPI core team includes a production manager, program manager, buyer and highly-trained production operators. A matrix organizational arrangement shares engineering resources between the NPI team and volume production operations.

A single SMT line is considered a dedicated NPI resource; however, complex projects can be run on a variety of equipment configurations throughout the factory, including three other SMT lines. In addition, the NPI group has access to a range of in-circuit and functional test equipment including a flying probe tester and access to the Company’s x-ray inspection equipment. The model ensures a core of dedicated production resources are always available on short notice, yet also provides access to a wider range of resources needed less frequently for more complex projects.


In addition to being ISO 9001:2000-certified, we are FDA-registered, AS9100-certified and an NSA-approved manufacturer under the COMSEC standard. In 2005, ISO/TS16949 certification will also be added. The dual business model formula allows the NPI team to preserve the flexibility and speed associated with that business, while accessing the “quality system expertise” infrastructure sustained by volume production operations. However, this “expertise” infrastructure is reciprocal. From a new process standpoint, the NPI area is working with customers who have lead-free requirements and often test process limits in newer technologies. Consequently, knowledge gained from the NPI team's focus in leading edge technologies transfers to volume production applications over time.

Our team uses a focused transition methodology which addresses challenges such as:

  • Component availability or obsolescence issues not anticipated in the design phase
  • DFM/DFT considerations
  • Incomplete or inaccurate documentation
  • Cycle time required to process prototypes
  • Challenges associated with emerging technologies
  • Challenges associated with industry-specific quality requirements.
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