Terugblik Nederland als Partnerland in 2014. Wirtschafsreport in gesprek met Marco Siebert, directeur Internationale betrekkingen Hannover Messe.
Exclusief interview met Marc Siemering over Hannover Messe 2016.
“Planning ahead instead of making subsequent amendments”
“Time is money” is a phrase that is especially true when it comes to the development of industrial products. So how can time to market be reduced? Dutch electronics specialist tbp electronics knows the answer: “Involving suppliers early on at the design stage of new products is crucial for ensuring that they get to market quickly”, says CEO Ton Plooy. Involving the supplier of the electrical engineering part, for example, at the planning stage will result in a functional product on the first attempt – according to the principle “Right First Time”. The company’s first German customers have already been convinced by this approach.
Previously, according to Plooy, product developers often had the mindset of “first the design, then the components”. They would gradually get closer to achieving the end product as part of the trial and error process. However, that meant building several prototypes and carrying out extensive tests, which is very costly and time consuming. “Our approach on the other hand is that it’s better to plan ahead than to have to make subsequent amendments”, says Plooy. If a new product ticks all the boxes on the first attempt this saves both time and money. What’s more, it puts you one step ahead of the competition.
Advising product designers
What does early involvement actually mean in practice? At tbp electronics it consists of three stages. The most important period is Stage 0, where the customer’s designer chooses the components. “We advise the product designer on the choice of electrotechnical components required for the printed circuit board assembly (PCBA). We make recommendations purely from a functionality point of view and not with regard to the actual product design”, explains the CEO.
In stage 1 the experts at tbp electronics analyse the finished electrical diagram using the latest software. “Then we discuss our recommendations for improvements with the designer. We call the result the ‘design for test’.”
In stage 2 the manufacturer and supplier finally reach the “design for eXcellence” – and hence the decisive test stage for the entire PCBA. The aim of this groundwork is clear: the first prototype of the product should work perfectly. “That’s what we mean by our principle ‘Right First Time’.”
Example of success
The company has relied on early involvement for around five years now. And it has been successful. This approach is now adopted for all product developments for German measurement technology specialist KROHNE, based in Duisburg. tbp electronics also now works for a handful of German suppliers. “On the whole, though, it’s not all that easy to convince companies of the clear advantages. They often fear that we want to get involved in the product design, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.” The proof of the pudding is really in the eating, as anyone who, like KROHNE, works this way just once no longer needs any convincing.
The principle of early involvement is most prevalent in the automotive industry. In fact, manufacturers actually demand that suppliers be involved at an early stage. tbp electronics therefore sees a lot of potential for growth in this industry – especially in Germany, where the company wants to increase its sales and marketing in order to win new customers.
Electric racing car
The company has already successfully supported a forward-looking automotive project: every year, the Formula Student Team Delft from Delft University of Technology constructs an electric racing car. “We provided support throughout the entire development process and advised the students in line with the early involvement principles”, says the CEO. A total of nine PCBAs were integrated into the latest vehicle, which actually crossed the finishing line first during several international races. As a result, the students are also one step ahead of the competition thanks to early involvement…
About tbp electronics
tbp electronics has been a specialist in electrotechnical assembly for 40 years: from complicated electronic components to the assembly of mounted printed circuit boards, and from small-scale production to mass production. The company’s PCBAs are used in medical devices, industrial computers, complex audiovisual devices, test and lighting systems, LED lighting and the semiconductor industry as well as in other areas. Companies from the petrochemical, pharmaceutical, arms and telecommunications industries are also regular customers.
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