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New Product Introduction (NPI)

New Product Introduction

What is New Product Introduction (NPI)?

We make complex projects simple for our partners. That starts with our unique New Product Introduction (NPI) service. New Product Introduction is the process of taking a product from concept, design or prototype, through various structured phases to full scale manufacturing. It means understanding and developing a customer’s product in a controlled and structured environment prior to serial production.

Putting your product through our NPI process will allow you to see and understand all the steps needed to take it from prototype stage to serial manufacture. We can review and advise on the functionality of the product against design and flag any specifications which might prove unachievable or financially restrictive.

Taking your product through NPI allows for a controlled release into scaled-up manufacture, and enables our team to understand your labour and space requirements and generate accurate lead times and quotations.

NPI can also be invaluable for the onboarding of existing products in partnership with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).

Why is New Product Introduction (NPI) important?

Executing a robust NPI process can be the difference between success and failure for a business. Our customers recognise the critical role that NPI plays in the serial production of complex metal fabrication, and why we have a dedicated NPI facility and team consisting of the very best in class sheet metalworkers and fabricators. These experts not only possess deep technical expertise, but also a true passion for better that is unrivalled.

The entire Universal Wolf NPI department is driven and managed by a dedicated project team whose responsibility it is to check on every aspect of a project. The different phases of new product introduction are controlled by approval gates which ensure the project has met specific criteria before moving onto the next phase. The Universal Wolf NPI team have the authority to allow a project to move forward, but more importantly to stop, evaluate, and revise when necessary.

Steve Park Assembly

What are the advantages of NPI?

Whether you are an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or a technology disrupter in your industry, the importance of implementing a robust NPI process has proven to be a key competitive differentiator for our customers.  We believe that once a product has entered production, there should be zero issues.

We believe that without a vigorous, dedicated NPI process, a project which is put straight into production will likely run into problems, for example, the inability to bend a product because serial production requires certain tooling or press brake tonnage, or perhaps the product’s geometry is flawed.

The advantages of a vigorous new product introduction process, include:

  1. Reduced development costs: By collaborating with our customers in the early stages of the NPI process, our design team can avoid late design changes, revisions, and costly validation testing
  2. Faster time to market: With a reduction in development time, the product reaches market and begins to generate a return faster
  3. Improved product quality: The Universal Wolf NPI process is focused on ensuring the product meets our customers’ needs and that the outcome results in producing a consistent, repeatable, quality product
  4. More efficient manufacturing: Through the effective use of Design for Manufacturing best practices, our customers’ products are designed with serial production in mind

The Universal Wolf NPI Process

Understand (Design for Manufacturing)

Even before our NPI process begins, we will collaborate with our customers to understand their product and contribute our Design for Manufacturing expertise; designing accurate, production-ready drawings ready for manufacture.

Design for Manufacturing is completed with a handover meeting from our technical sales team to a dedicated NPI project team.

Phase 1: Define 

During the Define phase, our project team will conduct an in-depth review of the data and information supplied by our customers. This phase involves a review of technical specifications and drawings, and sets out all needs and outcomes. The outputs of this phase include a defined scope, risks, suppliers, validated drawing pack / specification set, and agreed Critical To Quality components.

Value add: Reduced development cost through early collaboration.

Phase 2: Prepare 

Prepare is the first “doing” phase. We conduct CAD/CAM, determine space, equipment and site mapping, to get the NPI cell ready for manufacture. We design jigs, fixtures and agree the schedule with customers. The Prepare phase outputs includes CAD/CAM drawings, sign-off by customer and run sheets.

Value Add: Faster time to market through reduced development time.

New Product Introduction Process Key
In-House Paint Shop Capabilities

Phase 3: Execute 

The Execute phase involves the manufacture of a sample product. It is focused on moving the product from design into a defined form, while assessing any risk. Outputs include a validated product sample, drawing pack, bill of materials, specifications and operating procedures, bill of materials, weld qualifications and quality plan.

Value Add: Improved product quality through the development of a consistent, repeatable process.

Phase 4: Validate

The Validate phase is generally initiated following production launch, and provides the project team an opportunity to tie up any remaining documentation tasks, review process performance and collect customer feedback. This is the project team’s opportunity to review lessons-learned and document them for use in future projects, a key differentiator for Universal Wolf as we continue to develop a robust and industry-leading NPI process.

The Pack Approach

At Universal Wolf, we recognise the role that New Product Introduction (NPI) plays in the manufacture of high-end metal fabrication. That’s why we created our dedicated NPI department. Our NPI team are best in class sheet metalwork and fabrication engineers who have deep technical knowledge and a passion for better that is unrivalled across our competition.

Our NPI department has been recognised as a game changer for our industry with one customer telling us they’re “not aware of any other manufacturers investing in NPI on this scale outside the automotive industry”.

New product introduction (NPI)
Sheet metal product assembly

Tools of the Trade

  • A member of the NPI team can take part in initial discussions to clarify if a project will require input from the NPI department
  • Customers will have a nominated Project Manager and NPI representative who will maintain regular contact with the customer
  • The NPI department will guide the release into manufacture ensuring a smooth transition
    The NPI department can highlight any quality processes that must be followed
  • The NPI department can formalise the scope of the project
  • The NPI department will be responsible for managing all technical aspects of the product review and adoption

 

To talk to us about how we can support you with NPI, get in touch.