There are many options when you want something manufactured. Sometimes, you can buy something off the shelf. Sometimes, you can have your own in-house design department develop a solution, but sometimes, you need a little help.
Engineer to order is a comprehensive design, manufacture, and delivery process that could be the solution you need. Here’s how it works.
What Is ETO?
Engineer to order or ETO is a process where instead of providing a manufacturer with the design for a product you want to be made, you present them with the problem you need to solve, and the design of the solution is part of the order process.
So, your ETO manufacturer will be provided with the specifications for the project and the desired result, and they will use that to create a solution for you. Once the design phase is completed, and the solution is approved, it will move through the manufacturing process.
What Are the Important Steps of Engineer to Order?
Getting from idea to design and then to finished product is a complex process with many steps and potential problems along the way. It’s important that you follow a logical process to ensure that the finished product meets the project requirements. While each approach may differ slightly, most follow the same basic workflow, which includes:
- Create an RFQ – you need to give your ETO manufacturer all the information they need to estimate what the design and manufacturing process will cost for your project, and you can send this package to more than one manufacturer to get competitive quotes.
- Receive proposals – once manufacturers who offer Engineer to order services have reviewed your RFQ and developed a preliminary solution to the problem you need to solve, they will submit a quotation with their pricing and assumptions, which you can evaluate before choosing your manufacturing partner.
- Design process – the first step in the ETO process is to create a preliminary design, review, and revise it until you are satisfied with the solution offered.
- Prototype – even with a design, you still need a physical sample to make sure the proposed solution will work.
- Production – after design and prototyping is complete, the product goes to large scale production.
As you can see, there are several steps involved in a successful ETO process. Several of these steps will be repeated more than once as you work towards the ideal product design, but this ensures that when you get to the manufacturing step, all bugs are worked out.
Project Management Is Critical
The ETO process is a great way to find new and innovative solutions to a product design problem, but it is a lot more hands-on than traditional manufacturing.
Make sure that you have someone in charge of the ETO process who will be responsible from start to finish and that you monitor and manage every step of the process carefully. Be ready to provide feedback and decisions where needed, and always ensure that your ETO manufacturer is working with all the information they need to deliver a great result.
Engineer to order software helps ETO manufacturers manage the process from start to finish, ensuring important steps happen on time and keeping their team on track. Engineer to order software will also help the manufacturer plan materials and components needed, handle supplier interactions and control the assembly process.