Suppliers Are Joining the Design Team

Suppliers Are Joining the Design Team

Aug 4, 2015

By Rob Spiegel, Design News As pressure grows for design teams to be quicker and reduce errors, they are including their suppliers in design input and change procedures. It is a behavior change that isn’t based on Big Data, IoT, or 3D printing, but rather on necessity. And instead of technology providers leading the way, product producers are turning to design software vendors, saying, “Help us make this work.” Reasons for Collaborating Product producers have shifted their approach to design. Efficiency and speed have become the top values. “A decade ago, design was all about the ego and getting the design perfect. That’s changed, and now it’s all about speed,” Kent Kilmer, VP of marketing for Arena Solutions, toldDesign News. “Now there’s no loss of dignity in failure. The new motto is: Fail fast and move quickly.” The reasons for opening up the design process to include suppliers vary with each industry. Automotive and aerospace have been the long-time leaders in design collaboration. In both industries, the vast complexity of products requires intimate relationships between OEMs and suppliers. After decades of this, auto and aerospace have it pretty well worked out. “With each industry there’s a sweet spot. Automotive and aerospace were first in collaboration because they’re so complex,” Sandra Mitchell, product manager of Teamcenter Supplier Collaboration at Siemens PLM, told¬†Design News. “In auto, one of the big sweet spots is change. OEMs are looking for a quick turnaround. If you don’t have an efficient way to collaborate, you have to make an educated guess on the cost of the change and the lead time. That can put you in danger of missing your target,” Mitchell said. “Time versus cost is big with auto. You need to get everyone’s input before you lock everyone in.” Efficiency from design collaboration is spreading beyond automotive and aerospace. “We’ve seen a lot of collaboration activity in electronics and semiconductors. They’ve been interested managing changes and making sure their suppliers have up-to-date information on design changes,” Mitchell said. “The biggest issue is being able to get all of their changes out to suppliers. We get a lot of requests for help from electronics companies, and it’s spreading to...

14 Key Considerations for the Winning Design

Douglas Alexander, Principal Consultant, Component Engineering Consultants, EBN Generally speaking, the more thoroughly a manufacturing team develops a design concept, and the more qualified the thought process involved, the more likely the end product’s success in the marketplace. That’s why most of us who are involved in electronics manufacturing or R&D are familiar with the acronyms DFT, DFM, and DFA. These three stand for Design for Test, Design for Manufacturing, and Design for Assembly. Without delineating the three acronyms into their corresponding disciplines, I would like to add a few more essential design considerations by which most designers live and die. A product’s life starts at conception. That is to say, someone has an idea that may or may not be shared with others. The idea usually blossoms into a stream of thought that includes product features, appearance, budgetary cost estimates, target markets, sales channels, and possibly some early advertising concepts. At any rate, before pen is even put to paper, the creative process has constructed enough information to assess the possible worth or lack thereof of the product under consideration. I have a patent that started out as a conception based upon a need to perform the same tasks as done by multiple connectors, but only using one smart connector with a smaller footprint. This product came about as a challenge to find a way to use less space while providing simple utility, fewer wires, and, yes, at less cost than the existing connector systems. Fortunately, I had the deep pockets of Microsoft Corp.¬†(Nasdaq: MSFT) funding my design and experimental efforts. During the development of the new connector system, I found myself having to make several design considerations, in addition to the aforementioned three. Let me list a few that came to my mind: Design for rapid market acceptance Design for legacy product compatibility Design for simplicity of utility Design for intuitive application Design within existing analog/digital technology capabilities Design for materials availability Design for longevity and reliability Design for worst-case operating environments Design for lowest industry cost Design for appearance Design for simultaneous mixed media signal transport Design for autosensing connect/disconnect Design for stacking or ganging while maintaining signal isolation Design for...