After working in the contract manufacturing field for 18 years with Coghlin Companies I have learned the importance of building quality into the process in order to achieve desirable results from the beginning. As a contract manufacturer we focus predominantly on quality in the manufacturing process after we receive the designs. For the most part, we work with clients whose designs are stable and ready to be produced. Naturally, our focus is the quality of our processes and I believe, after years of working in this industry, the single most important process we use when building quality is the New Product Introduction (NPI) process.

The NPI process is important because it allows the engineers and the client to openly discuss the product and the potential manufacturing processes that will be used. Our multidisciplined team reviews the new product being manufactured at our company, which is core to the process. Our review covers many key questions that need to be considered before the manufacturing process begins.

Examples of questions we review at these meetings:
• What tooling/equipment is required? Does it require calibration?
• Are there any material handling concerns – ESD & ROHS controls?
• What are the skill level requirements – is special training required?
• Are there special quality requirements (FAI, C of C, Source Inspection, record retention)?
• Are there special packaging requirements to ensure safe travel (internal, external)?
• What are the infrastructure requirements (space, lighting, safety)?
• Is the provided assembly documentation sufficient to ensure consistent quality?
• Are there any special regulatory requirements (FDA, UL, CSA, ROHS)?

This is only a small sample of questions our team considers during the NPI process but it should give our clients an idea how much effort and thought goes into getting their products manufactured correctly. These questions are modified based on the type of service our customer is looking for. This process helps put us and the customer on the same page at the same time, helping to build a quality product from the first step. We strive to contract manufacture quality products that both Columbia Tech and our client can be proud of.

Eric Skoglund

Quality Control Manager, Columbia Tech