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2 minute read • published in partnership with Universal Wolf

Insight: Why should you choose a metalwork supplier with a solid approach to NPI?

New Product Introduction (NPI) is the process of getting a product ready for full scale manufacturing from a concept, design, or prototype. While more commonly associated with new-to-market products, it is also an extremely beneficial exercise to undertake for Original Equipment Manufacturers, when moving a product from an incumbent to a new supplier. Andrew Avery, technical sales manager at Universal Wolf, looks at the key benefits of following a New Product Introduction process when switching to a new supplier.

The importance of managing risk

Any supplier move will bring with it an inherent level of risk. Your sheet metal partner must get to grips with drawing packs, understand Critical-To-Quality (CTQ) requirements, and correctly develop an efficient way of manufacturing and fabricating your product. Doing all of this in a live production environment can create bottlenecks and risks poor control of documentation, leading to errors in fabrication.

Choosing a partner with the right NPI is important for OEMs to consider when moving a product from an incumbent to a new supplier / Picture: Universal Wolf

Onboarding a product via NPI helps to manage these risks, by releasing it into production in a controlled and efficient way. The Universal Wolf NPI team is managed by a team of sheet metal fabrication experts, who are able to advise on best practice and identify any potential issues, and put in place steps to resolve these.

Optimising for efficient, repeatable manufacture

Switching supply of a product from an incumbent to a new supplier is an ideal opportunity to review your technical drawings, and ensure that manufacture and fabrication is as efficient as possible. Universal Wolf’s Engineering team are experts in Design for Manufacturing (DFM), optimising designs for repeatable and scalable manufacture. Manufacturing technology is always changing, and the advance of capabilities such as robotic welding allows us to streamline even further. For example, there may be a particular weld which can be removed, or done differently, to reduce both cost and production time. This means that we can be sure that the product is optimised for manufacture.

Build a strong supplier/customer relationship

When you onboard a new supplier, you are placing faith in that company that they will correctly manage, fabricate, build and deliver your product. Following a New Product Introduction process to onboard your product with a new supplier will not only address the points above but will also allow you to develop a strong working relationship with your sheet metal fabrication partner, and be confident in their ability to handle your product.

Andrew Avery, technical sales manager at Universal Wolf / Picture: Universal Wolf

To find out more about the Universal Wolf design for manufacturing or new product introduction services, please contact