The EMS environment
has key challenges related to NPI processes. These can include:
- Resource allocation
- Adequately addressing
a wide range of client support needs
- Ensuring needed
flexibility to accommodate quickturn prototyping schedules.
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
- Cycle time required
to process prototypes
- Challenges associated
with emerging technologies
- Challenges associated
with industry-specific quality requirements.