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Case Study

Electronics Design For Availability

Services Used

Overview

An existing customer, a leading telecommunications SME who serves over 14,000 businesses every year approached Ignys, with a view to finding a solution, to the huge problem of semiconductor chip shortages. 

Their manufacturer of choice had raised concerns with them due to the challenges faced by the global supply chain. 

They turned to Ignys as their trusted electronics design partner to source parts and Design For Availability. 

The Brief

The company needed parts in the region of the 10,000s to fulfil their volume requirements for the upcoming period to continue successful sales for their multi-media device. 

The brief was to source parts through collaboration with our supply chain network which we have access to through building strong relationships over time coupled with a vast knowledge and understanding of electronic part sourcing. 

They wished to explore redesign options in the case that sourcing was not possible. 

Our collaborative approach

We sat down with them and worked out the scope and required functionality of the project. We had regular meetings with our customer and their manufacturer, creating a collaborative approach from the start.  

We quickly established through our networks that, due to the volumes needed, sourcing the exact part would not be possible due to the global chip shortages. 

By looking at their specifications, volume requirements, and statements we concluded that there were alternative options for their missing components if we could source them. Through extensive research we found replacement parts which offered the functionalities and technology required using a new supplier who could provide the parts within the desired timeframe. We collected formal quotations for the parts and required drops. Most importantly we worked proactively and collaboratively throughout the project to make sure all parties stayed informed.  

We took on an extra project management role to minimise the risks associated with the current supply chain situation, and create a concrete product development plan to meet their tight deadlines and maintain bill costs with manufacturers. After discussing with them further they decided that a redesign was preferrable to create optimum profit margins for their project.  

As we secured the procurement of parts, we released an early BoM (Bill Of Materials) to ensure commitment from the supply chain. This is an important step before redesign. We need to be adaptable and flexible in the way we work particularly now.  

We took the redesign a step further by uncovering value engineering potential which resulted with the implementation of a successful cost reduction strategy. 

The Results

Successful sourcing of replacement parts with redesign resulting in product cost reduction techniques designed to maximises ROI potential. As a result of the redesign and parts the company can continue their sales and growth plans without the chip shortages having a damaging effect on their business 

We reduced a 2-board solution to a single PCB layout without changing the shape and size of their casing, this resulted in a significant cost reduction. We took the functionality from the top board and incorporated it into the base PCB planned carefully using schematics. This will positively impact the assembly time, material costs and the set-up time needed from their manufacturer. This will have a lasting impact on the product unit cost and profit margins of the product as we move onto the NPI stage of the project. We accelerated their development phase to stay ahead of the shortage situation. 

During the global chip shortages, part costs are rising which makes value engineering particularly useful as a long-term strategy especially when redesign is required for the continuation of a product. If you find yourself struggling to fund parts due to rising component costs you may find that reducing functionality through a redesign still allows you to remain competitive and continue your business plan with suitable sustainability. 

We were successful by working towards a common goal with our customer and their partners and sharing each other’s pain points. We always look to help customers save money and get the best quality out of an electronics design project. 

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