The transfer of a new product from development to serial production typically involves several key steps. Following them well ensures a smooth transition and successful production.
For the process to go smoothly, a large amount of information needs to be passed from the product development team to several groups within the organization, including production, purchasing, and quality. Each of these groups need access to specialized information to adequately support the process. Typically, firms use a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system to manage the information and access. PLM systems like Aligni are purpose-built to facilitate New Product Introduction (NPI) handoff quickly, efficiently, and accurately.
The actual handoff operation may vary depending on the organization and product, but here is a general outline of how this handoff usually takes place:
1. Finalize the product design: The product development team works on refining the design based on feedback, testing, and iterations. They ensure that the product meets all specifications, quality standards, and regulatory requirements.
2. Create detailed documentation: The product development team prepares comprehensive documentation that provides manufacturing instructions, including engineering drawings, bills of materials (BOMs), assembly instructions, and any relevant technical specifications. This documentation serves as a reference for the manufacturing team.
3. Conduct a design review: The product development team and representatives from other departments, such as manufacturing, quality assurance, and procurement, come together to review the design and documentation. This review aims to identify any potential issues or improvements before moving forward with production.
4. Collaborate with manufacturing engineering: The product development team works closely with the manufacturing engineering department to ensure a seamless transition. They share the design documentation and collaborate on aspects such as production processes, tooling, fixtures, and equipment required for manufacturing.
5. Prototype production: Before full-scale production begins, the manufacturing team may produce a limited number of prototypes or pilot units to validate the manufacturing process. This step helps identify any unforeseen issues and allows for further refinement of the production plan.
6. Transfer knowledge and training: The product development team conducts training sessions for the manufacturing team to familiarize them with the product design, assembly processes, and quality standards. They provide guidance on best practices, troubleshooting, and any specific requirements.
7. Establish quality control measures: The product development team collaborates with the quality assurance department to define quality control measures and inspections that need to be implemented during the manufacturing process. This ensures that the final product meets the desired quality standards.
8. Coordinate with procurement and supply chain: The product development team works with the procurement department to ensure the availability of necessary raw materials, components, and resources for manufacturing. They provide information on approved suppliers and any specific requirements for sourcing.
9. Monitor and support production: After the handoff, the product development team maintains close communication with the manufacturing department to address any issues, provide support, and answer questions that may arise during production. They may conduct periodic reviews and inspections to ensure compliance with the design intent.
10. Continual improvement: Throughout the manufacturing process, the product development team gathers feedback from the manufacturing team and identifies areas for improvement. This feedback loop helps refine future product iterations and optimize the overall production process.
By following these steps, the product development department can effectively transfer a product and the copious amounts of data need to be manufactured. If the new product contains enough complexity in either part count or specifications, the use of a PLM system may help ensure a smooth transition, efficient production, and a high-quality end result.
If you’re managing the transition from design to production, make it easier by signing up for Aligni PLM today!
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