Product Design Phased Development

Phased Development Step Process for Electronic Products

Development of new products requires that an orderly set of steps or "phases" be followed by the engineering, marketing, and manufacturing teams to avoid costly mistakes. Industry experience has demonstrated that it may cost three to ten times more to correct oversights, which should have been accomplished in a preceding phase.
A summary of the primary phases, which have come to be generally accepted as an efficient development process, follows.
Emphasis is on the engineering design aspects, and they apply in principle to all company divisions.

Phase 0
Project Definition
Examine marketplace requirements / client's business model.
Generate "blue sky" concepts.
Identify key team members, both for us and the client.

Phase 1
Product Definition
Create development budget, schedule, milestones plan.
Initiate ID exploration.
Document concept, feasibility, costs and specifications.
Define resource management.

Phase 2
Product Development
Develop engineering and agency requirements.
Develop appearance model.
Qualify vendor list.
Create assembly documentation.
Test functional prototypes.

Phase 3
Product Engineering
Release detailed CAD, BOM, CTF.
Review COGS with manufacturing network.
Complete engineering analysis / design verification testing.
Initiate agency submissions.
Identify service needs and considerations.
Design and quality reviews.

Phase 4/5
Support production launch.
Evaluate manufacturing variation requests.
Execute engineering / manufacturing change orders.
Benchmark and refine production process.

  Phase 0: Introductory Phase
Initial product definition and "getting to know each other" phase. This phase also highlights major work tasks to be done.

Phase 1: Concept & Feasibility Study
A product is broadly defined based upon a perceived market need. Marketing and Engineering jointly determine market and technical feasibility. Engineering may model high-risk subsystems to build needed technical confidence.They then issue a summary report of findings and a beginning product specification.
Deliverable: A technical study report is created which typically summarizes study findings and attempts to define a preliminary product specification with sketches, etc...

Phase 2: First Prototype
A project team is selected, a kick-off meeting is held and product spec.'s are further defined along with regulatory requirements (U/L, IEC, EU, FDA, etc.) A "breadboard" model is designed and built to assure design bugs are corrected before commitment to tooling. Documentation is usually informal during this phase. Engineering and marketing meetings are held as needed to formalize a first working product specification. Industry experience has shown that many clients push to bypass this phase and rush to get the product tooled prematurely. This has proven to be a costly mistake !
Deliverable: A breadboard working model, minimum documentation, and more complete specification, and a summary report.

Phase 3: Prototypes Production
This Phase requires funding for parts, build, and tooling (plastic molds, PCB's, panel graphics, initial regulatory testing, etc.) for a small number of the product. The product team is expanded to include manufacturing personnel. The team creates a more detailed specification (and marketing, financial plans., etc.) Engineering then designs, documents, tools and procures sufficient parts to manufacture and test a small evaluation build (2 to 5 typical).
These prototypes are used for regulatory testing, marketing shows, etc...
Deliverable: Completed primary manufacturing documentation and 2 to 5 working prototypes. Initial regulatory agency test results and needed product changes are also completed, if applicable.

Phase 4: Pilot Production

The first fully controlled and documented products are made for initial sales during this phase. This is a vital phase for cooperation between engineering and the manufacturing company personnel.
Typically ten to twenty products are made with responsibility gradually shifting from engineering to full manufacturing operations as engineering completes and debugs both the product and its documentation.
Deliverable: Complete manufacturing documentation, fully trained manufacturing personnel. and a modest quantity of delivered product.

Phase 5: Early Production
During this phase, manufacturing personnel largely handle the product's build and support. The documentation is placed under formal control (ECN's, DCO's, etc.) and engineering provides sign-off and review of any needed changes until the product is technically stable.

If you need more information or consulting services for a project's development ?
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