NPI (New Product Introduction) VS. NPD (New Product Development)

NPI (New Product Introduction) VS. NPD (New Product Development)

In the world of manufacturing, the initials NPI and NPD are often mistakenly used interchangeably. However, there are a number of differences between the two.

What is NPI?

New Product Introduction is a program used within a company to define, develop and launch a new product or service. NPI activities generally begin after the design and development of a product or service with the focus being placed on its launch and marketing campaigns. For an NPI program to be truly effective, it requires a lot of teamwork, communication and support.

A New Product Introduction program often involves the implementation of a six-phase process: define, feasibility, develop, validate, implement and evaluate.

Define: This phase involves defining the functionality and performance abilities of the product or service being launched.

Feasibility: This phase involves having upper level management evaluate a new product or service’s potential for success. The design concepts are reviewed to ensure they fulfill the requirements outline in the “define” phase.

Develop: This is where the product or service’s design features are more clearly defined. Risks are assessed in this phase and the production process is evaluated.

Validate: In this phase, tests are conducted on product prototypes. If necessary, some design changes may be made.

Implement:During this phase, the manufacturing processes are refined and validated through pilot builds and capability studies. As well, process documentation and quality controls are developed and implemented. 

Evaluate: This phase often involves collecting customer feedback on the new product or service.

What is NPD?

NPD is the complete process of bringing a new product or service to market. It is often defined as the transformation of a market opportunity into a viable product for sale and consumption. There are eight major steps in the new product development process: idea generation, idea screening, concept development and testing, marketing strategy development, business analysis, product development, test marketing and commercialization.

Idea generation: This step may involve the generation of hundreds or even thousands of ideas. The ideas can come from either inside the company (internal idea sources) or outside the company (external idea sources).

Idea screening: In this step, the good ideas are separated from the bad ones. Only the best product ideas are turned into profitable products.

Concept development and testing: The best ideas are developed into a product concept, which is a detailed version of the new product idea. It is then tested with groups of target consumers either symbolically or physically to find out if the product idea has worthwhile customer appeal.

Marketing strategy development: In this step, a new marketing strategy for the product is developed. This involves a description of the target market, an outline of the product’s planned price and a plan for long-term sales and profit goals.

Business analysis: This fifth step involves a review of the sales, costs and profit projections for the new product. This helps to determine whether or not these factors satisfy the company’s objectives.

Product development: This is where the product concept – having passed all the necessary tests – is developed into a physical product to ensure a viable marketing offering can be created.

Test marketing: In this step, the product and its proposed marketing strategy are tested in realistic market settings.

Commercialization: In this final stage, a new product is introduced to the market.

For more information about NPI and NPD, please don’t hesitate to give Flux Connectivity a call at 1-800-557-FLUX or email us at

What Is NEMA? 

What Is NEMA? 

Back in January, we posted a blog about the ever-important concept of putting safety first. In the world of manufacturing, those two little words couldn’t have bigger implications. Our blog pointed out the importance of considering the harsh environments within which many electrical connections are used. With the help of NEMA, a “safety first” mentality is commonplace in manufacturing companies all throughout North America.

What does NEMA stand for?

Founded in 1926 and based in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA is the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Developed to create the technical standards for the manufacturing of both electrical and medical imaging equipment, NEMA is known as the largest trade association of electrical equipment manufacturers in the United States.

The primary focus of the organization is to set industry standards for safety and innovation within the world of manufacturing. NEMA’s membership is made up of about 350 different companies that manufacture products used in utility, commercial, industrial, commercial, residential and institutional applications.

What are the different NEMA ratings?

Every five years, NEMA publishes new ratings that are used to protect electrical equipment from damage due to dust, liquids and corrosive materials. The ratings are based on the types of enclosures that electrical components are manufactured with. While not all electrical components are designed with NEMA enclosures, the ratings are meant to be used as industry standards on a voluntary basis. There are no less than 13 NEMA ratings with some being broken down into several sub-groups.

NEMA 1 refers to general purpose enclosures that are constructed for indoor use. They protect human contact from electrical charges and protect the electrical components against dust, light, dirt and debris. NEMA 2 is much like NEMA 1 except this rating stipulates protection from light dripping and splashing of water. It’s referred to as “drip-tight”.

NEMA 3 is regarded as “weather-resistant” and is divided into a number of subsections. These enclosures are created for both indoor and outdoor use, especially on ship docks, construction sites, tunnels and subways. They protect against falling dirt, windblown dust, rain, sleet and snow. The 3R subsection omits protection against windblown dust. 3S also protects from ice while 3X, 3RX and 3SX offer additional corrosion protection (especially from salt water).

NEMA 4 and 4X enclosures provide the same protection as a NEMA 3 enclosure with additional protection against water ingress and/or hose-directed water. They’re referred to as “water-tight”.  NEMA 5 is “dust-tight” and is commonly used in steel mills and cement plants.

NEMA 6 and 6P are “submersible”. They offer the same protection as NEMA 4 enclosures, but also protect against temporary or prolonged submersion in water or oil. NEMA 6 is temporarily submersible while 6P withstands occasional prolonged submersion. NEMA 7 is built for hazardous locations that are primarily indoors. NEMA 8 offers the same protection as NEMA 7 but can be used either indoor or outdoor.

NEMA 9 enclosures are dust ignition proof and intended for indoor use in hazardous locations. NEMA 10 enclosures meet MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) standards. NEMA 11 protects against the corrosive effects of liquids and gases while meeting drip and corrosion-resistance tests.

NEMA 12 and 12K enclosures are intended for indoor use and protect against dripping and splashing water. They are also rust resistant. Finally, NEMA 13 enclosures provide the same protection as NEMA 12 enclosures, but with added protection against dripping and/or sprayed oils and coolants.

For more information about NEMA and their various ratings, please don’t hesitate to give Flux Connectivity a call at 1-800-557-FLUX or email us at

What Is Mass Customization?

What Is Mass Customization?

Imagine how boring life would be if we all looked, acted and felt exactly the same. Sure, differences of opinion have often led to extreme conflict. But, when you consider how fascinating all of our differences are, it truly helps to make this world a wonderful place to live. Each and every day, we have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to our meals, our clothing, our entertainment and even the people we decide to invite into our lives.

Thanks to all of these amazing options, we all have the ability to customize our lives. We choose what we eat and wear every day. We decide who we spend our time with. We determine where we want to work. And, we most certainly get to decide which products we wish to purchase. Thanks to mass customization, we are all lucky enough to be able to purchase products that are uniquely designed to meet our specific needs.

How does mass customization work to meet everyone’s individual needs?

Also known as “made-to-order” or “built-to-order”, mass customization is a marketing and manufacturing technique that delivers products and services which are specially customized to meet specific customer needs. The process combines the low unit costs that are associated with mass production with the flexibility and personalization of custom-made products.

An everyday example of mass customization can be found in ordering a pizza. Imagine pizza restaurants only offered one type of pizza. It’s unimaginable, right? Every single pizza order is customized. Today, you can decide on all of the different toppings you want as well as the sauce and type of crust you want your pizza to be made with.

Mass customization puts power in the hands of the customer.

This flexible technique enables customers to design the features of the products they wish to purchase without having to worry about overspending. For the most part, the various components needed to make the product (think pizza toppings) are readily available and easy to mix and match.

What are the four faces of mass customization?

According to James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II of the Harvard Business Review, there are four distinct approaches to customization: collaborative, adaptive, cosmetic, and transparent.

Collaborative customization is described, by the duo, as the type that involves discussions or studies with various customers to help them determine their specific needs. From this information, businesses are able to fulfill customer needs by making customized products for them.

Adaptive customization involves the manufacturing of products that offer only one standard, but are customizable. That way, the products can be altered directly by their users. Gilmore and Pine use the example of a lighting system that can be programmed by its user to offer a uniquely desired lighting effect.

Cosmetic customization presents a standard product differently to different customers. As explained by Gilmore and Pine, “the cosmetic approach is appropriate when customers use a product the same way and differ only in how they want it presented. Rather than being customized or customizable, the standard offering is packaged specially for each customer.”

Transparent customization provides individual customers with unique products and services without letting them know that those products and services have been customized for them. It involves the observation of customer behavior to determine their needs and then customizing offerings for them that appear to be standard.

For more information about mass customization, please don’t hesitate to give Flux Connectivity a call at 1-800-557-FLUX. You may also email us at

What Is Delayed Differentiation?

What Is Delayed Differentiation?

Thankfully, “delayed differentiation” is one of those things that’s name describes what it is. Think about it this way. It’s a manufacturing technique that “delays” making a “difference” in the product until the very last step of the process. Delayed differentiation is also known as “postponement” for the simple reason that it postpones making any differences to the products being made until the last possible moment.

Delayed differentiation is a supply chain technique that helps to align supply and demand.

As a result, fewer products are made unnecessarily, cutting costs for companies that may have otherwise overproduced particular items. This process of postponement is also effective in helping companies produce customized products.

Delayed differentiation is a technique commonly used by companies that create generic and family-based products that need to be differentiated into specific end products. Paint is a commonly used example. Naturally, paint companies need to offer hundreds of different colors of paint. Often, factories that produce paint and don’t employ the delay differentiation technique find they have overproduced particular colors while under-producing other colors.

Automobile manufacturers are also known to use delayed differentiation.

That way, they are able to mass produce base models of their cars but only make alterations or add minor customizations when a car is actually ordered by a customer. Such customizations can include upgraded audio systems, air conditioning, tires or back up cameras. In some cases, these additions can be installed right at the car dealership.

Industries with high demand uncertainty utilize delayed differentiation to address their inability to make accurate predictions about demands for their products. Take t-shirt companies, for example. They may have numerous prints available for their customers to choose from. Instead of printing all of their different t-shirt designs, they ensure that they have enough plain shirts in stock to customize once specific shirts have been ordered.

Start with white and add color later.

Many clothing companies take advantage of delayed differentiation by producing their items in white. The final coloring process isn’t conducted until they know exactly what colors are bound to be the highest sellers. Just as with the automobile upgrades, many clothing items are manufactured and sent off to their distributors before the coloring process begins.

To put it into context, Scott Haliday of Acumen Information Systems offers an apt scenario: “For example, you offer an item in red, orange, green, black, and white. If you’re using delayed differentiation, you can, instead of ordering 100 items of each color to keep in your inventory, order only white ones to keep in stock. Then, when a customer orders ten green items, you take ten of your white items, turn them green, and ship them to your customer.”

Haliday highlights the fact that manufacturers that use delayed differentiation pay less for inventory and likely waste much fewer items. In addition, they save room in their warehouses to store other necessities. “It also reduces the need to have very specific demand forecasting, as speculating which colors will be the most popular is nearly impossible,” he writes.

For more information about delayed differentiation and how the Flux Connectivity team takes advantage of it, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-557-FLUX or email us at

What Is The Difference Between Batch Production And Mass Production?

What Is The Difference Between Batch Production And Mass Production?

When it comes to producing large quantities of the exact same item – a manufacturing practice conducted by numerous businesses all over the world – there are a few different production techniques that can be employed. What’s the best way to get a large number of items produced in the most efficient way without compromising their quality? Most would answer with either “batch production” or “mass production”.

What is batch production?

Batch production is a technique that utilizes various steps to produce numerous units. This form of production is typically used when a large number of high-quality items need to be produced. The units are moved from one step to another as a “batch”. Take, for example, a batch of cookies. The same step will be performed on numerous cookies all at once before they are moved on to the next step.

During batch production, products are made in “batches” that travel through the entire production process together. As mentioned, this process is highly recommended for manufacturers who insist upon maintaining a high level of quality throughout each and every item being produced. As a result, batch production generally requires a smaller workforce than mass production techniques and the workers are often expected to be experts in their fields.

What is mass production?

Mass production is a technique that creates the continuous production of items throughout a series of steps that are all performed simultaneously. This form of production is generally employed to achieve a greater output than batch production techniques. When items are mass produced, the different pieces of equipment used for the production of the items are all used at the same time.

What are the main differences between batch production and mass production?

Batch production is generally utilized to create unique batches of items. In other words, the same production equipment can be used to make different batches of different items at different times. So, for example, once a bakery has completed its production of cookies, it can use the same equipment to produce muffins. In between the creation of the two different batches, the equipment being used can be cleaned and reconfigured.

Mass production, on the other hand, has the ability to produce a variety of different items all at the same time. Let’s suppose a company produces different types of juice. Using this production technique, its apple juices, orange juices and grape juices can all be produced concurrently.

Batch production is commonly used to produce several hundred products at a time. In addition to cookies or muffins, think books and Blu-ray discs. Mass production is often used to produce a larger number of larger-sized products at a time. As a result, large-scale machinery is necessary. The products being made will have to pass through various stages during the course of production. Think cars, as an example.

At Flux Connectivity, we pride ourselves on being an innovative connectivity manufacturing solutions provider. If you have any questions about our manufacturing techniques or wish to learn more about which production style would best fit your company’s needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can give us a call at 1-800-557-FLUX or email us at