Alyssa Sittig's Blog Posts Tagged 'engineering' (14)

Optimize your designs with the innovation BOM

Product development is never as easy as going from “What's the market solution” to “what's the engineering design”  - there are many decisions in the middle that need to be made around the general design, tech requirements, and main components. (For example - - How’s the chassis going to come together, what’s the power supply, how is it going to communicate?)

You probably use Excel for this. At many companies, or on startup teams, you might even find yourselves sitting around in a…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on June 6, 2012 at 6:15pm — 1 Comment

Should a new component revision trigger a new assembly revision?

At Arena, we work with a lot of high-tech electrical-hardware engineers and OEMs. In our thousands of conversations with prospects and customers, here is one of the most common questions we get - - if you revise a component used in your designs, or swap it out for a totally different component, how far up does that revision need to go?

This is sort of a tricky question to answer with some major…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on May 15, 2012 at 3:30pm — 1 Comment

What's better? A formal or an informal change process?

There's a lot of give and take when it comes to setting up a change process, and a lot of factors that determine if your process should be highly formalized, or loosely managed.

A loose change process, where individual engineers have the discretion to either expedite change requests or make immediate revisions, exposes your product to unintended consequences - - including costly scrap and rework at best and field failures at worst. But excessive review slows down the iterative process…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on March 15, 2012 at 5:00pm — No Comments

What could you do with a Google for electronic parts?

One of the biggest stressors of putting together a protoype (in my eyes) is finding all the parts you need, getting the datasheets, etc, etc, and building that first draft of the BOM. If it's at least easy to find the parts you're looking for, with information on multiple distributors, it makes the job a bit easier.


To that end, I want to share a new tool I have caught wind of, as part of my work at…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on February 21, 2012 at 12:59pm — No Comments

How engineering contributes to new product introduction

I just wrote a post on the Arena Blog about big picture questions to ask when launching a new product.

Answering these questions (what is the overall expected revenue, are there additional headcount needs, etc) is often the job of…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on January 25, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

What are you doing to manage changes in 2012

If you're working for a large, established company, your engineering change process may have been set in stone for as long as you can remember.

But if you're working for a smaller company, maybe the way changes are managed depends on who's involved, the…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on January 2, 2012 at 11:21am — No Comments

The pros and cons of intelligent part numbering

There was a time when everyone was so impressed by intelligent part numbering schemes that choosing to adopt one was a no-brainer.

But things have changed. If you're growing quickly with a wide variety of parts, or have a globally dispersed or complicated manufacturing process, intelligent part numbering could actually be a difficult system to maintain as you grow.

If you're trying to decide if it's right for you, here are a few pros and cons of intelligent part…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on December 27, 2011 at 9:30am — 4 Comments

Engineers - making the world sexier one gadget at a time

I don't know if you've noticed this, but some really innovative products are starting to hit the market that are aimed at improving health, fitness, and sexiness. While a lot of technology - cars, microwaves, electric toothbrushes - makes us lazier, these products are designed to get people up off their butts, and out into the real world.

Here are a few of the most innovative ones I've seen. (…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on December 21, 2011 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Excel BOMs - Tips for cleaning 'em up!

I would imagine most engineers tend to be pretty  . . .let's say fastidious . . when it comes to managing their spreadsheets and product data. So perhaps keeping a clean spreadsheet is a no-brainer. 

But the BOM is a very unique spreadsheet, and one that gets shared all around the organization. There are a ton of people who input into the BOM, and a lot of things the BOM must keep track of. So it's not surprising that it can quickly become a disorganized mess. (Color-coding, lack of…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on December 13, 2011 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

Why is Engineering Change Management so Hard?

A good friend of mine . . .  who shall remain nameless . . . . just got out of a "come to Jesus" meeting because a major change to an important fixture in their product was missed. Not a good day to be him . . .

It's scary to admit, but missing a poorly documented change can happen to anyone (to a varying degree of severity). It all comes down to your processes, and how tightly you're managing changes to your product with ECO/ECRs.

Obviously, working at Arena has convinced me…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on November 10, 2011 at 3:11pm — 2 Comments

Could open-design hardware ever replace proprietary design?

I always enjoy reading the musings of my company's CTO, Eric Larkin. I found his most recent post about open-design hardware particularly interesting.(Not to mention, I appreciated the throw-back to the days of…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on November 3, 2011 at 12:12pm — No Comments

Is minimum viable product design a viable solution for hardware designers? A little while ago I met with Arena CTO Eric Larkin to discuss the minimum viable product design model and tips for implementing it into your product design process. (Full recap of the subject matter here.)


I've been thinking about it since then, and wondered if this is a model that could work for hardware designers, as it has been really effective for us (a software…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on October 24, 2011 at 12:34pm — 1 Comment

Differences in how engineers and manufacturers deal with a BOM

Ok. So this is a post about work - and work conflicts. Particularly between manufacturing and engineering.

I think that oftentimes, manufacturing and engineering are asked to work in parallel while being completely at odds philosophically.

Engineers deal with a lot of different…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on September 6, 2011 at 11:54am — 5 Comments

Does your multi-level BOM send the right message?

Hey Engineers -

When you're dealing with a complicated product, you tend to end up with a complicated (read: multilevel) BOM. Sharing a multi-level BOM from your PLM system with other members of your organization who might need a BOM - sales, finance, inventory - can seem like it would be helpful, but it can…


Added by Alyssa Sittig on August 30, 2011 at 4:00pm — No Comments


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