When the team at Spectrum Assembly, Inc. tells a customer they are an extension of their manufacturing team, they mean it. One of the key ways this talk is walked, occurs in New Product Introduction (NPI) via SAI’s TransferAssist Service. Designed for customers new to outsourcing the service puts a Tiger Team in place to assess customer processes and address gaps in documentation and materials prior to the project transfer or product introduction.
The following case study illustrates the value of this service:
A company wishing to launch the next generation of a sports medicine product came to SAI. Their original product line had been mechanically simple and they wanted to increase functionality. This increased the product’s footprint significantly and required a much more complex mechanical assembly process. The customer wanted SAI to develop the manufacturing process instructions in addition to building the product.
Manufacturing process instructions are developed as part of the NPI process. The customer’s documentation for wire and cable assemblies, electronic assemblies, mechanical assemblies and cosmetics is transmitted to the Aegis system and used to create visual work instructions that combine the documentation assembly aids with notes made by SAI’s engineering team.
This project had several challenges. This was a box build job that included cables, printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs), mechanical components, chassis, sheet metal, plastics and hardware plus fluidics, and air and water lines. Routing the tubing in a limited chassis space was a challenge. SAI’s team applied the experience it had in cable and harness assembly to address the tubing routing challenge, using same process model it used in developing efficient wire and harness routing to route the fluidic, air and water lines. Trial builds were done and the team developed a tubing cut list to ensure that all tubing was cut to appropriate lengths for the preferred routing. The customer watch the trial build process to ensure it met their requirements.
While computer modeling can be an efficient way for a design team to develop assembly drawings occasionally what looks great on the computer screen turns out to be an inefficient order of operations on the production line. Having a combination of computer modelling and hands-on trial builds ensures that nothing gets missed and that the order of operations is fully optimized.
SAI’s team also supported materials sourcing. When the customer’s engineering team originally created the bill of materials (BOM), they were simply looking for prototype quantities of the parts to support their proof of concept activities. Many of the custom parts were sourced through prototype shops. SAI’s team took the BOM and then identified suppliers with the best lead-time, best cost and a stable supply chain. In some cases, they recommended keeping suppliers that were tooled and competitive, however, they also identified alternate sources for suppliers that weren’t a good initial choice.
Finally, SAI’s team looked at the logistics side of the project. The product is used by sports teams and the crating needed to be both cost competitive, yet designed to support likely transport by end customers to other locations. Printing requirements, form, fit and function of all packaging was evaluated.
SAI typically provides some level of assistance to every customer. In this case, the team provided assistance over the customer’s entire product commercialization strategy, and truly lived up to our commitment to be an extension of their team.