Accelerated product development

In an era when aerospace and defence components are becoming more complex, and the pressure on businesses to deliver innovation and through-life solutions is growing, collaborative working within the supply chain is crucial. Steve Jones, managing director of Quantum CAD, explains the benefits that such workings can have for the industry.

Working openly and transparently, through sharing information, will deliver benefits across the industry with increased pace of change avoiding duplication and waste.

Close co-operation and effective communication between designers and manufacturers from an early stage in the product lifecycle is valuable in numerous market sectors.

However, it can yield particularly large benefits in low to medium volume, high-technology sectors such as aerospace and defence where open and transparent relationships exist between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), contract electronic manufacturers (CEMs) and designers. This significantly lowers cost, reduces time to market with the opportunity to build in eco-friendly product features from the outset.

Effective collaboration means working together right from the conceptual stage to create the optimum design for manufacture, test, and procurement with emphasis on environmental and legislative practices.

It is estimated that 80% of the costs of new product introduction (NPI) are determined during the design and development phase; therefore, having collaborative partnerships is vital to manage NPI costs.

Collaborating on all aspects of product development such as part information, bills of materials (BOMs), and design changes (ECOs) ensures the correct data is available to the right people, to make the right decision, at the right time. Quantum CAD uses the e-collaboration platform CXInsight to integrate the CEM and OEM into a single working environment to solve any collaboration issues. This helps to ensure that all parties are working on the same data set through each step in the product lifecycle.

Therefore it is extremely important to factor in all of these elements early on. In fact, if attention to post product introduction stage is not considered originally, no amount of manufacturing expertise or effort will get quality and manufacturability into the final product.

The benefits of working this way include products that are:
better-designed with greater functionality
more efficient with fewer components
easier to manufacture and test

These combined significantly lowers component and assembly costs for the OEM.

Designers who work with CEMs in order to design the product specifically for manufactures can increase idea generation, unlock innovation, match solutions to the needs of customers more closely and pool their expertise and resources to offer a better service.

Due to their close collaboration, when urgent operational requirements arise, companies like Axiom (CEM) and Quantum CAD (designers) can respond quickly and flexibly utilising core capability and previous knowledge and experience.

Extending your product development to include an outsourced design and manufacturing team may seem daunting. But with shrinking product development cycles, rising costs, rapid technology changes and increasing customer sophistication, companies recognize that they cannot go it alone if they want to innovate.

Steve Jones of Quantum CAD concludes It is essential to form partnerships with people who inspire your confidence and trust, with whom you can be open and honest and develop positive culture matches. With the right components, product development and innovation will be secure and result in a win-win relationship.