Time to Market: 12 Characteristics of NPI Suppliers

When trying to get a new product to market, time can be the most important factor when it comes to its future success or failure. And time is always passing whether you use it productively or not. When it comes to new product introduction (NPI), loss of time can mean everything. Thus, it’s critical to choose the right PCB and PCBA supplier to deliver your new product to market on time.

With that in mind, here are 12 characteristics you should look for when choosing and developing a long-term working relationship with that right NPI supplier. Quick turnaround suppliers must be:

  1. Capable: They need to have all the capabilities to handle your NPI needs.
  2. Synergistic: They need to have a complete synergistic solution from design to bare board fabrication to assembly. They need to be able to do it all so that all you have to do is write one purchase order, and then your project is handled as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
  3. Technical: Your favored supplier should have all the technology to build your product today as well as your new products in the future.
  4. Flexible: New products often have many changes and iterations, so your supplier must be ready to make them without skipping a beat.
  5. Customer-oriented: To work in the pressure cooker world of time to market, the vendor should always be willing to provide customers with superb customer service. They should let customers know what is going on every step of the way and have the patience to deal with whatever challenges may occur.
  6. Reliable: With the success of your company in their hands, you must know that your supplier is reliable and will not let you down no matter what. Once you release the order to your vendor, you must know that you will get your product to market on time.
  7. Credible: You must believe what your vendor tells you. A solid relationship with your time to market vendor must be built on the knowledge that they will always tell you the truth, no matter what.
  8. A proven performer: They must have a track record of proven success based on past performance not only with your company but with their entire client base. Consistently delivering critical time-to-market products on time, every time, is not easy. You should deal with companies with great track records based entirely on performance, not just talk.
  9. A good partner: The right vendor must care completely about your success as the customer. They are in the business of supporting customers and helping them be successful by getting their products to market on time. They should always be a good partner and put your company’s well-being ahead of their own.
  10. Fair when it comes pricing: They should be fair in all aspects of your business relationship, but especially when it comes to fair and equitable pricing. This is one to look out for because quick turn, synergistic manufacturing can get very expensive. In many cases, there is no good way to judge whether or not you are being gouged. Some companies will tend to do this, particularly when they know you are in a real bind. Again, you need a partner who you can trust who will not get greedy and take advantage of you when you are in a bind.
  11. Financially secure: Make sure that your partner’s finances are in good shape. The last thing you want to hear is that your product was delayed because your partner was on credit hold and could not get the parts they need to buy to build and assembly your products. Your partners’ financial woes will always convert to yours, too.
  12. A visionary: If you are hanging your future success on your vendor, make sure that they have a vision for their own future. What are their plans? Where do they want to be in one year or five years? Does their vision of the future align with yours? What if their plan is to sell the company in three years or, worse yet, sell the company to your competitor, leaving you out in the cold? Your mutual vision for the future should always be considered.

Conclusion

Most of these 12 characteristics to look for in a good vendor partner are logical and make sense. But the real key to having a long-lasting, productive vendor/partner relationship is to constantly work on it. Day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year, always pay attention to and work on your vendor relationships. Then, you will be successful.

Imran Valiani is an account manager at Rush PCB. He can be reached at imran@rushpcb.com.

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2020

Time to Market: 12 Characteristics of NPI Suppliers

09-24-2020

When trying to get a new product to market, time can be the most important factor when it comes to its future success or failure. Imran Valiani details 12 characteristics you should look for when choosing and developing a long-term working relationship with that right new product introduction (NPI) supplier.

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Time to Market: 8 Ways to Know Your Customer Better

08-20-2020

Now is the time to go the extra mile in getting to know your customers, what they need, and how to help them solve their problems and challenges. Imran Valiani shares eight ways to know your customer better.

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Time to Market: It’s Not All About Money

07-30-2020

When you consider the true value of getting your product built swiftly enough to make your required date, you come to realize that it’s not all about the money. After all of the planning, scheduling, and marketing you’ve done, Imran Valiani explains what could happen if you don’t get your product on time.

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Time to Market: It’s Crunch Time!

06-25-2020

After sharing a crunch-time scenario, Imran Valiani emphasizes the importance of solid communication on getting to market on time—especially if you're not using a one-stop-shop for design, fabrication, and assembly.

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Time to Market: 10 Guidelines for NPI Projects

05-21-2020

With everything going on right now, people are looking for solutions—especially fast solutions. Imran Valiani shares 10 guidelines for working with your NPI supplier to make sure that you get your new, innovative, and in some cases, life-saving products to market quickly and efficiently.

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Time to Market: Time to Market Now More Critical Than Ever

04-23-2020

As inventors come up with new devices and equipment that can directly save lives when they are placed in the hands of the medical professionals who are treating COVID-19 patients, it is up to the PCB and PCBA industry to support those companies. Imran Valiani provides five actions to help customers get to market with their new products as rapidly as possible.

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Time to Market: Handling the Precarious Global Supply Web

03-26-2020

The rush is on. As the world changes moment by moment, more and more companies are going to need to have their new product lines developed faster than ever. As the global supply web shuts down—or at least gets closed off in some areas of the world—companies, especially OEMs, are having to scramble to find alternate solutions for building their products. However, Imran Valiani explains how there is a way to countermand these challenges: using trusted sources.

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Time to Market: Total Concept—A New Kind of Business Whose Time Has Come

02-27-2020

Customers used to have enough time to go just about anywhere to get their concept to reality projects completed. They could go to the East Coast for design, the Midwest to get their boards fabricated, and the West Coast for assembly. Nowadays, companies want to have a supplier that controls it all and is nearby so that they can meet with their vendors daily or more frequently to ensure that everything is going according to plan. This is especially critical when it comes to projects that are truly in development and will need a number of revisions.

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Time to Market: Concept to Reality in Five Days—Can You Believe It?

01-23-2020

Time to market has never been more important than it is today. Some companies today can go from schematic to an assembled board in five working days or less, and sometimes in just hours. Imran Valiani lists five things that super-fast companies must have to “cut the fat” from their cycle times.

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2019

Time to Market: The Complete Solution—Fabrication and Assembly in Five Days

12-05-2019

The future is here. More and more companies are turning to the complete synergistic solution, seeking companies who can provide PCB fabrication and assembly in just a few days, some in as little as five days. Imran Valiani shares five items to consider when choosing a total concept supplier.

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Time to Market: Partnership Is a Two-way Street

11-21-2019

The best way—and really the only way—to get the most from both your PCB vendors and others is to treat them as an extended part of your company. Bring them into the family, so to speak. And the better you treat your vendors, the better they will perform. I know that’s not the most complicated thing to say, but it is often not an easy thing to do. You have to intentionally choose companies to partner with as vendors, and then intentionally work to create a bond of trust with them consistently throughout the relationship.

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Time to Market: The Importance of Timely NPI

10-09-2019

In this new column from Imran Valiani plans to address ways to get products to market as quickly as possible.

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