Product Rescue Part 5: Pre-Production

Your prototypes are good and the budgets have been approved, it’s time to start producing products! Let’s talk about how to ramp up for full production.

Product Rescue Pre-Production

Don’t fire up the manufacturing floor just yet, there is some significant prep work that goes into pre-production on a new product.

Let’s do a quick recap, in parts 1-4, we discovered a new product idea, created a design, and finally produced and tested both alpha and beta prototypes.

Pre-Production allows us to plan and prepare for full production within the manufacturing facility itself.

no more hand holding

So far, engineers have closely guided the production of a few prototypes. Once the product is ready for production, processes have to be put in place to ensure the success of the product on the manufacturing floor. In many cases, this will be the first step that occurs at the final manufacturing facility.

a different type of engineer

Within this series, we have used the term engineer loosely, mainly because different product types require different engineers (mechanical, electrical, software, etc.).  In this case, any time a new product is hitting the manufacturing floor, industrial engineer(s) are the ones who define the pipeline by understanding things like throughput, gates, capacity limitations, labor calculations, yield, etc.

PROCESS. PROCESS. PROCESS.

Whether your order quantities are going to be 2 per month or 2,000 per day, every step of the manufacturing pipeline must be part of an overall process.

Who are our vendors?

What are our lead times?

Who gets the materials first?

Where are the extras stored?

How do you move product from one step to the next?

Where are the biggest bottlenecks?

All of those questions and countless more have to be answered to ensure the highest productivity and efficiency.

What what could go wrong?

Lack of planning and unforeseen obstacles become major problems at this stage in the process.

If the pipeline was not well defined, small issues build up and generate big losses in productivity.

-If stations aren’t placed strategically and workers are hand transporting product across the warehouse…that extra time is costing money.

-If the machine you built to fill and close bottles can’t get the lids closed, your automation is costing you time and money.

-If your logistics aren’t well planned, and only a third of the trucks necessary to transport product are making it through each day, you’ve got a storage problem.

The key is to practice your system completely as many times as it takes to ensure training and flow are effective.

Where do we fit?

As a contract manufacturer for small volume, highly custom products, we are always in pre-production mode. New products are being introduced to our production floor on a weekly basis.

Our program managers and production staff have developed a great system for managing a variety of products with exceptional precision and efficiency.

If you have a new product, or even a legacy product and are looking for a reliable source? Let’s talk. We specialize in plastic fabrication and cable assemblies, but even if your product doesn’t fit those categories, we might be able to help find the right manufacturer.

Where we don’t fit

For large scale, mass production, we typically help clients transition to a larger manufacturer. In those cases, we offer the most value at the design, testing, and prototype phases.

What’s next?

Tune in next week as we dive in – fully prepared – to production.

 

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