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EETE NOV 2013

Revitalising the older product By Stuart Kelly Your company has a product that is ten, or more, years old. Much has happened in those past ten years - technology has radically changed and the companies your company partners with have switched focus. There is also a continuing need to reduce costs, reduce size, comply with legislation and meet industry standards. To keep up with this changing market the decision has to be made whether to discard the old model and start again or find a way to bring the product up to date. Whatever the reason, and there are many driving the need to modernise a product, it is not generally necessary to reinvent the wheel. Working with the appropriate design to manufacture team you can redefine the product that you already have to meet current market drivers. These can be the aesthetics, size, cost, technology or all four. With sufficient vision and future-proofing, revitalising can extend its life for another ten without having to start again. Alternatively, limited changes can extend “When redesigning or re-engineering a product the first topic for discussion is the timeframe for getting to market” its usability for a couple of years while a long-term replacement is delivered. One industry where redesign is particularly prevalent is in the medical sector. Here the value of well-established technology is often measured in years of good research data and clinical experience. Many products in this area, such as heart and blood pressure monitors, are moving from medical practitioner and hospital use into the hands of the patient. Often the basic technology of the product can remain the same but its packaging has to be reduced in size and redesigned to meet the consumers’ needs and ability. When redesigning or re-engineering a product the first topic for discussion is the timeframe for getting to market. It maybe that regaining a competitive advantage is the driver. Alternatively the product may be required to meet a tradeshow date or a customer has a deadline to meet. This timeframe will, or should, determine the scale of the project. It is very easy to get carried away on a redesign and with many internal stakeholders, from marketing through R&D to management, it is essential to prioritise market requirements before deciding on the critical requirements for the new product version. Questions that should be asked include whether the end product will be driven by price, time to market or a need to be the best. This is where an Electronics Engineering and Manufacturing Services (E2MS) provider, that can also take a product from the earliest design stages to full production, working with the supply chain throughout, can be key to meeting all the targets. New legislation on compliance can also be a major driver for change in a legacy product and recently a wound care device had to be updated to bring it into line with new standards for medical devices. Externally, the changes were minor but by switching a handful of electronic components and modifying the embedded software it is now compliant and has the patient protection features required for home healthcare applications. By working with an experienced team with a history of integrating the engineering discipline into the manufacturing environment, with the intricacies that involves, and a good understanding of timescales, a realistic plan can be put in place. The redesigned product will then be commercially viable and get to market at the right price and the right time. Stuart Kelly is Project Manager at Plexus Engineering Solutions - www.plexus.com Publisher André Rousselot +32 27400053 andre.rousselot@eetimes.be Editor-in-Chief Julien Happich +33 169819476 julien.happich@eetimes.be EDITORS Paul Buckley +44 1962866460 paul@activewords.co.uk Peter Clarke +44 776 786 55 93 peter.clarke@eetimes.be Nick Flaherty +44 7710236368 nick.flaherty@eetimes.be Christoph Hammerschmidt +49 8944450209 chammerschmidt@gmx.net Jean-Pierre Joosting +44 7800548133 jean-pierre.joosting@eetimes.be Circulation & Finance Luc Desimpel luc.desimpel@eetimes.be Advertising Production & Reprints Lydia Gijsegom lydia.gijsegom@eetimes.be Art Manager Jean-Paul Speliers Acounting Ricardo Pinto Ferreira Regional Advertising Representatives Contact information at: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/en/ about/sales-contacts.html European Busin ess Press SA 7 Avenue Reine Astrid 1310 La Hulpe Tel: +32 (0)2 740 00 50 european Fax: +32 (0)2 740 00 59 business press www.electronics-eetimes.com VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437 RPM: Brussels Company Number: 0461357437 © 2013 E.B.P. SA ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES EUROPE is published 11 times in 2013 by European Business Press SA, 7 Avenue Reine Astrid, 1310 La Hulpe, Belgium Tel: +32-2-740 00 50 Fax: +32-2-740 00 59 email: info@eetimes.be. VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437. RPM: Nivelles. Volume 15, Issue 10 EE Times P 304128 It is is free to qualified engineers and managers involved in engineering decisions – see: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/subscribe Copyright 2013 by European Business Press SA. All rights reserved. P 304128 50 Electronic Engineering Times Europe November 2013 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE NOV 2013
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