From Initial Design to an East West Quality Product

November 20, 2012 by Jennifer Catalan

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How does a product management flow work for a project at East West? How do we take an initial design and deliver a quality product to our customers?

The East West business model is centered on the ability to manage an item through any part of the product life-cycle. Often this means beginning with a product that is still in design/prototype stage. It's one thing to have a concept which works well in theory or as a prototype, but it’s an entirely different feat to have the concept translate into offshore production on a larger scale. Although each product is unique, there are key milestones which always translate.

Sourcing/RFQ

This phase begins with a customer drawing package, and/or a prototype. The goal of this phase is to provide the customer with a detailed quotation, and project proposal for moving into mass production. To accomplish this, East West and its sub-development units in Asia will review the design to determine where the best combination of capability and pricing is located. It is in this stage that tooling requirements are determined. Raw material and component availability is also planned for. In some cases, certain components in the original prototype may need to be substituted based on availability in production quantities. As a result, the design specifications are further refined. The result is a quotation and project approach proposed to the customer based on the most efficient options.

Tooling/Sampling, Non-Production Release

Once approved by the customer, the product enters into the Tooling/Sampling Phase, also known as Non-Production Release (NPR). It is at this time that the documentation is finalized for both control and translation into manufacturing. A preliminary Quality Procedure is outlined against product specifications (this is a living document which is continuously refined). The Quality Procedure encompasses all form, fit, and functional requirements of the customer including any in-process documentation, 3rd party certifications, or raw material confirmation. Tooling is initiated and the specifics of the sample qualification plan are confirmed with the customer. The goal of this phase is to complete tooling, and translate the product into physical samples which both meet all specifications, and can be replicated consistently. This is an iterative process; meaning initial samples will often need adjustment, and additional design changes will need to be incorporated and confirmed with additional rounds of samples prior to the start of full production.

Production

After sample qualification, the product is now ready for production. This is initiated with a pilot production run, which is a short-termed production run of a smaller quantity (usually around 200-500 pieces depending on the complexity, size, and volume of the product). The goals of this phase are to provide product to the customer quickly, monitor/improve production controls, and lastly, obtain a slightly larger sample quantity for more in-depth qualification against the Quality Procedure (QP). First-off samples will be shipped to the East West Atlanta office, tested against the QP, and placed on lifecycle test. Concurrently, Quality Control (QC) at the Asian business unit will monitor production at the factory and report any significant issues affecting product quality. During review of the production, the process flow is analyzed, the effectiveness of in-process testing, confirmation of data collection and appropriate reaction to out-of-control conditions, as well as review of finished product and packaging. Upon production completion, QC in Asia will inspect the final product against the Quality Procedure and approved customer samples. QC will provide a formal inspection report to EW Atlanta for review, and shipment approval. At East West every shipment is inspected and approved prior to being released to the customer. This results in a closed-loop process that continuously improves specifications and inspection requirements for each production run.

Developing a product from prototype/design phase into design for manufacturing be managed with agility and persistence. Further development often exposes issues which may cause the need to revisit previous stages, or adjust the scope of the project. The ability to adapt to such changes on the fly and see the project through to completion is a must.

East West Manufacturing can help if you have a product design and are looking to produce larger volumes with quality results at a competitive price. Get in touch with us today to see if East West is the best partner to manufacture your product!

404.252.9441 | info@ewmfg.com | www.ewmfg.com

Posted by Jennifer Catalan

Jennifer is the Digital and Creative Marketing Manager at East West Manufacturing. She loves making East West look good in the digital space! Prior to her role in Marketing, Jennifer managed the global logistics for East West.

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Topics: Product Management, Engineering, Customer Service