The success of any project lies in the planning!

A successful project not only needs thoughtful planning but also requires dedication from all parties involved. When we start our power supply project planning we break down the product specification to create a project plan detailing the stages of the project, including timelines and milestones, also taking into consideration the customers own procedures for new projects and existing commitments.

The project plan will include elements to be completed by Sunpower and the customer, setting dates that elements should be submitted for approval by and approved by and highlight any dependencies that could be affected should a party not complete their element by the required date. This ensures that all parties fully understand the project and what stage it should be at, at any given time.

Once agreed we will assign a manager for the project to ensure it maintains direction and does not loose momentum through the process.

Elements we consider when constructing a project plan

  • Resources – Are there any specified components with long lead-time or no second source? Availability of equipment i.e. test chambers. Manpower
  • Interfaces – this includes any type of transfer between our team, you the customer and suppliers; these will be defined and agreed at the outset of any project.
  • Dependencies – Work of one member of the project may depend on that of another. We will highlight these at the outset so that all are aware if the impact their particular tasks may have on others.
  • Timescales – It is a common occurrence to under estimate the times required to complete elements, especially when availability of resources is not considered. We have a precise understanding of the elements required of us, from CAD design through to sample testing, to ensure that realistic dates are applied. We will work closely with the customer to glean an understanding of their resources to ensure achievable scales are set here too.

Our policy of continual improvement ensures that we regularly monitor and review our performance so that valuable information is collated and future projects may be better planned. Feedback from our customers is an integral part of this process, our ability to react quickly to customer concerns and changes in the project is key to our success.

Our product planning process

In order to systemise the process and produce results as quickly as possible it is necessary to clarify the decision making process and utilise the knowledge of our experienced engineers to analyse the design information.

Each project is assigned a single point of contact to ensure the execution of the project is as smooth as possible, this person will have a thorough understanding of the project and will conduct regular project review meetings both internally and with the customer.

1. Marketing Information/Customer Specification/RFQ

The first step is to collect the marketing information or customer specification, request for quotation and any other relevant supporting documentation. This is generally done by conducting an initial meeting where we can gain a better understanding of the requirements and obtain answers to preliminary technical and commercial questions that arise through the discussions. At this stage we will obtain key stage targets from the customer for imperative targets to them such as sampling and production runs.

2. Cost/Technology Capability Analysis

A team of design engineers, purchasers and/or application engineers will consider the requirements and analysis the feasibility of the product to determine costs and available resources. At this stage the project plan begins to establish a timetable for the project, and co-ordinating the available resources.

3. Product Plan Review

R&D, sales and/or engineering will review the project plan. The project plan is reviewed at this stage to ensure the co-ordination of customers targets, Sunpower targets and available resources. At this stage a risk analysis is also carried out to highlight any potential areas of delay to reduce the risk of issues occuring during the active project.

4. Meets Requirements?

The decision is made as to whether the cost and capacity meets with marketing or customer requirements. This is the final stage where the entire project is discussed and any areas of concern are raised before the project is agreed and is set in motion.

5. Design Group

The project is formally assigned an identification number and passed to design to carry out the next stages; working in line with the product plan.

Our policy of continual improvement ensures that we regularly monitor and review our performance so that valuable information is collated and future projects may be better planned. Feedback from our customers is an integral part of this process, our ability to react quickly to customer concerns and changes in the project is key to our success.