Electronic Devices Productization Process, Best Practices

Engineers of electronics, printed circuit boards and other integrated circuits go through several major milestones when designing the next killer device. Before reaching CES or other electronic gadgets trade shows they go through several stages of productization. 

For small, IOT devices for example, manufacturers there is an abundance of suppliers, providers and software that can help you get to the end point, if that goal did not have any financial constraints. How to do it right and efficiently is a different question and goal, which will be achieved in different manners. 

Supplier analysis in electronic component sourcing is crucial to maintaining costs under supervision

Usually right and efficient would mean having 1 contact, some providers such as Avnet and Arrow can provide that, but basically by the time you first get to market the product is already theirs, which can be good deal but not for a young hungry entrepreneur that just rolled out a cool device. 

This is why it is important to maintain ownership and have a versatile platform that can help you, from day one reach different milestones, from first demo, to MVP and then to market and scale up. 

For your demo product it does not matter at all, your PCB will be heavy, expensive and bulky. It’s all ok. It is what the industry is used to seeing. 

On the next step you already have to start thinking big, there are many design best practices to follow but those are all done on your CAD, DFT, DFA all ensure that you don’t make mistakes early in design that will stall your progress later. From a sourcing perspective, this is the time to go online and allocate the right parts from you. One of the best practices is cross referencing, which entails supplier analysis. For smaller companies it’s about making sure that you don’t rely on hard to find parts, stay with off the shelf products and make sure its not only 1 supplier that can support it, preferably focus on large manufacturers, with perhaps 1 or 2 suppliers that are cheaper and good enough. 

SourcingBot provides a cheap yet effective tool for mamging your BOM from demo phase

For your MVP this is the time to save a bit on costs, scale is not here yet and testing 1 or 2 suppliers that are cheap and hungry can be really useful in your coming steps. Large manufacturers will not communicate with you at the beginning, even distributors are not communicative on those levels. So this is the time to set up a BOM tool, run as many BOMs as possible. One interesting service here is SourcingBot that provides you with a BOM tool that crosses your BOM online, and from that point you have alternative material lists that can support this. 

Your designs will continue to adjust, develop and fork out, but your material list should actually  be consolidated. Having a material list when the supply chain is functioning great is good and important but your material list should be flexible enough to absorb shocks that often occur. Its smaller to medium electronic companies that suffer the most because they have no inventory and rely on real-time supply chains.