Get What You Want from Your PCB Team
In any relationship, there needs to be clear communication between all involved parties around expectations. That is true for friendships and vendors. At Caltronics we have found the importance of communicating clearly with our clients to make sure the product they receive accomplishes what they need and want it to do.
Why is this such an important issue?
In any design process, our clients have a good idea of what they want their product to do and how they want it to do it. Our responsibility, as their printed circuit board design and manufacture firm, is to get that information out of their heads and on to paper. If we do a great job at this, both parties will be happy when the product arrives at their facility.
But what happens if things are not communicated and documented? Then our design engineers miss requirements that our client needs. Or if those requirements were not documented, then we rely on our memories of what was said and hope to get things right. This naturally leads to scope creep as we have to go back to the client and work on redesigns. The worse this is done, both parties will grow increasingly frustrated. Further, this diminishes the likelihood of the product being completed on time with the functionality the client needs.
How do we avoid that?
Caltronics Design has implemented some very clear processes around how we approach a product design, how we document what we do with it?
First, we start with clear Pre-Design and Pre-Manufacturing Requirements. This includes several documents that need to be filled out that both the client and the engineer on the project sign off on. These documents address things as varied from device functionality to Agency approvals. In this process, we spend a great deal of time talking with our clients around how they anticipate using the product. The more we know, the better suited we will be to design and manufacture it to their specifications. This way we can make sure that everyone is on the same page and has the same understanding of what will be built, how it will be built and when it will be built.
Second, in the design and manufacturing process, we find it is necessary to maintain communication between all the parties. This provides not only accountability in ensuring timing of delivery, but also can raise questions regarding functionality and use case as the product is being built. Often during a design project, things come up that no one thought of when the design specification was approved. That doesn’t mean that the client has to do without a new feature or live with an oversight. When changes are desired we return to the original requirements documentation and, in writing, come to a complete understanding of what needs to be changed and if the cost of the design project must change. When everyone signs off on the changes, then we return to work on it.
Last, when we deliver a product we have a final sign off meeting to ensure that the product was delivered according to specifications and does what the client needs it to do. Our entire process is structured around having a client who is happy with both the product and how the product was delivered to them. With our process in place, we have improved the likelihood of this happening and have happier clients!
If you aren’t getting this kind of process with your current circuit board design and manufacture shop, please reach out to us. We’d love to talk with you about projects you are looking to do!