Modern product development and manufacturing are complex. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, the ability to quickly adapt and respond to market demands is crucial for organizations aiming to stay ahead of the competition. Agile methods have emerged as a highly effective approach to product development, enabling teams to be more flexible, responsive, and collaborative throughout the entire process. For the last two decades, agile quickly became a standard for many software development teams. A whole generation of tools was developed to support these processes.
At OpenBOM, we wanted to take a fresh look at the process of new product development, including mechanical design, electronics, software, sourcing, procurement, planning, and tests. The current methods we’ve seen don’t really work. The engineering and manufacturing teams are struggling without a holistic data management approach, real-time communication and collaboration as well as a quick and seamless procurement process.
The reality of any engineering and manufacturing team regardless of their size is the same. Build better products, faster and, with lower cost. How we can make it happen for engineering and manufacturing teams? A typical engineering team is siloed using their functional roles – design, engineering, procurement, and assembly. Engineers and other people in the team cannot communicate well, the data is not shared and to communicate and collaborate you need to use Excel, spreadsheets, various general-purpose emails, and strange mechanisms to send and reconcile data. Which makes the entire process fragmented and disconnected. When communication is hard, don’t expect people to innovate and move fast.
The problems of this method are obvious. Each next step requires the previous stage to be finished and only then to continue. It is a slow process that today is a foundation of many small, medium size, and enterprise tools. CAD files excel spreadsheets, and multiple online tools – this is a quick list of tools used by companies developing for $1M and multi $B deals: Excel, emails, manual calculation, absence of revision control, and lack of communication.
How to change it – fundamentals of Agile NPD
You cannot build new products using old tools. Therefore, we came to engineers and other people working on new product development with new tools – product management, inventory control, project management, support of the collaborative effort, and many others.
Here is a picture of how agile product development as we can see it at OpenBOM. The main importance of the picture is a short-time repetitive cycle of product design, BOM management, procurement, and tests. Placing them all together makes it really painful.
There are 4 important elements of Agile New Product Development using OpenBOM:
- Single source of truth for all product data
- The real-time collaboration will allow people to make changes simultaneously
- Engineering integrations with all CAD systems
- Inventory, RFQ, or PO
OpenBOM provides a centralized workspace where team members can collaborate on tasks, share documents, and Bill of Materials, and make analysis of data from a different perspective – cost, supply chain, manufacturability, and many others. Changes made by one team member are instantly visible to others, ensuring that everyone is working with the latest information. The feedback from any team member can be immediately shared with everyone else.
Conclusion: Unique OpenBOM Technologies Built for Agile NPD
In conclusion, the importance of agile methods in new product development cannot be overstated. Agile approaches enable organizations to adapt to changing market conditions, respond to customer needs, and deliver products faster. OpenBOM, with its agile-oriented features and real-time collaboration capabilities provides a comprehensive platform helping engineering teams and manufacturing companies to develop new products.
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