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Optimize your Manufacturing Schedule

From long-lead time components to testing and certifications, understand the many factors and challenges that will affect your manufacturing schedule.

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Manufacturing Schedule 101

Being late to market can be devastating, as the company will miss critical revenue and need to wait another year before the sales opportunity comes back. In consumer electronics, the product sales cycle is often driven by the winter holiday season sales. Many companies make the majority of their revenue for the year in tied to revenue goals for a fixed date. In this time, they will need to cover the financial burn of the team, and are more susceptible to competitive threats after they have revealed their product to the market.

In high production volumes, as opposed to lower prototyping quantities, many components have lead-times. For some electrical components (i.e. MLCCs), these lead-times can be over a year! For fabricated parts, such as injection molding tooling, it often takes up to 8 weeks to make the tool before the plastic part is available. If a company has not factored in these lead times, they will either miss the sales opportunity or erode their margins paying for expedited service (air shipping, etc.).

Typical Manufacturing Phases

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Standard Milestones in Manufacturing Process

Engineering Validation Test
EP / EVT (Engineering Pilot / Engineering Validation Test) In this iterative and internal process off tool plastics and PCBAs are assembled to create functioning units. The goals are to identify opportunities for improvement, confirm that everything works and has the core functionality to move on to the next phase.
Design Validation Test
FEP / DVT (Final Engineering Pilot / Design Validation Test) In this phase you’re going to make improvements by fixing items in the prior phase. You’ll want to get samples ready for certification. Beginning internal customer use testing (CUT) to gain critical feedback. The goal here is to achieve final design aesthetic. Ultimately you want to create a salable product (including packaging), however this is built by engineers vs. line works.
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PP / PVT (Pre Production / Production Validation Test) Getting closer, here you’ll want to move from engineering to the production floor and start using line workers. Key areas to focus on would be Takt times, first pass yield, etc. The end goal will be typically producing around 500 salable units.

Example Manufacturing Schedule for Consumer Electronic Product

Manufacturing-Schedule

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