The Silicon Review
There is no end for innovation in the fast-paced digital world we live in. The global manufacturing industry is up against new challenges created by the global markets, and it is important for the manufacturers to engage in accurate and safe manufacturing processes. When compared to other contemporary trends, precision manufacturing has the proven potential to revolutionize the industry operations by cutting costs, increasing efficiency, delivering reliable parts, and tightening tolerances. To maintain the quality of the products, every industry has its own standard, and we can provide accurate products with precision in dimension sizes, threading, shapes, and measurements of the product. Irrespective of the equipment’s size, precision is paramount. Globally there are various manufacturers in the precision tools manufacturing segment, but one that stands out from the rest is PEKO Precision Products Inc.
PEKO is a leader in the Contract Manufacturing of Machinery, Equipment, and Major Assemblies. As a major differentiator and asset to the customer, PEKO offers a New Product Introduction engineering group that engages the customer at its early lifecycle stages. The company’s services address two market segments of the same flavor. New Product Introduction engineering is the component of Contract Manufacturing the tackles common problems seen by New Product teams like focusing on core technology, resource constraints at early-stage manufacturing, and the ability to properly prepare the product and documentation for full rate manufacturing production. The Contract Manufacturing services are build-to-print to deal with scaling-up and delivery of steady-state production volumes. A hidden feature of PEKO’s Contract Manufacturing services is the ability to develop processes, as most of the products the company produces for its customers are very difficult to build. Hence, it finds engineering-based solutions to manufacture those effectively and efficiently. The entire service portfolio is supported by an enormous manufacturing capability suite with 100 CNC Machines, Full-Service Sheet Metal Fabrication, Welding, Mechanical Assembly, Electrical Assembly, and Engineering support. PEKO Precision Products Inc was founded in 1966, and it is based in Rochester, New York.
In conversation with Dan Brokaw, VP of Sales and Engineering of PEKO Precision Products Inc
Q. How do you establish a goal before starting a new product development?
It is not easy to establish goals, but it is paramount. We have developed tools to help customers in new product development and synchronize with the contract design and manufacturing teams. One such tool is our proprietary Critical Parameters worksheet. This worksheet forces all parties to identify Critical Parameters, Inputs, Outputs, and Noise. In this way, we capture what we must adhere to, what we have, what we need, and what can get in the way. This is a simple but effective engineering process that gets to the heart of the design feasibility and forces the development team to prioritize, categorize and design accordingly. Milestones area is another great way to identify goals and stick to them. The teams need to focus on dates and achievements, and by creating clearly identified milestone goals, we can manage the project's success and failures. Lastly, and maybe most important, is identifying the program's KPIs, which in almost every case is Cost, Quality, and Delivery. Our team frames the discussions by laying these metrics and creates the goal posts for overarching failure and success. Any program or project manager that is not tracking these from day one is setting themselves up for a rocky road ahead.
Q. Access management and the privacy of sensitive information is a major consideration around contract manufacturing. How can we overcome this issue?
We could not agree more. This issue is becoming more and more pervasive. New product teams need to understand that the security of their IP is of the utmost importance. Two significant factors can affect the safety of their design. The first is cybersecurity. These days, information is transferred via portals, USB, email, and other digital methods. PEKO is of the opinion that all care must be taken to transfer this information securely. It is the heart of the product and most likely the business. One cannot risk their digital information being lost, hacked, or stolen. We have invested in state of the art NIST compliant cybersecurity protocols to protect our users’ data. The other risk is contractual. Most new product teams do not read the fine print when engaging the design firm of choice. Many design firms will become the design owner contractually. Our philosophy is that the OEM should choose their development and manufacturing partner on a service-only basis. In other words, someone that wants no ownership of customer intellectual property or any royalties associated with it. If the two companies need to disengage, the OEM should have access and ownership of all their data and documentation and make a clean break.
Q. What are the challenges faced by a modern-day Contract Manufacturer? How do you help them overcome those challenges?
As both a contract manufacturer and a new product development firm, PEKO has a unique insight into the challenges faced by contract manufacturers. The most glaring issues are production readiness, Quality control, and overseas manufacturing. Production readiness is a major issue because it embodies the delicate handover point between the development and manufacturing teams. These two teams must be engaged early in the product development process, but it is not always the case. This is a sensitive time because the knowledge, processes, and manufacturing techniques for the new product development and prototype stages are much different from production scale volumes. We want to ensure the care and communication has been taken to ensure the design intent and manufacturing intents are aligned to ensure all team goals are met during this handoff period. Quality control is another issue. At manufacturing time, new suppliers for both custom and COTS items might be put in place. It is important that all sources are vetted for Quality and Delivery. The supply chain and Quality teams will be heavily involved in this effort to ensure a seamless transition to volume manufacturing and that the lines are supplied with compliant parts at just the right time. Lastly, overseas manufacturing is a challenge we face constantly. PEKO manufactures completely in the USA, unlike some customers who are willing to manufacture overseas. There is a cost vs. risk analysis that must be done. Our major concerns here are the safety of Intellectual Property, delivery issues, and commercial issues. Product type and business model will drive this decision, and we encourage all OEMs to weigh this decision very carefully.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
PEKO is offering advanced Design for Manufacturing and Assembly services to help new product teams plan their trajectories. Similarly, we are offering high volume customized assembly and manufacturing options with lower rates for less complicated product lines.
Meet the leader behind the success of PEKO Precision Products Inc
Dan Brokaw, VP of Sales and Engineering, has been working with the company for over 30 years. Dan’s experience in manufacturing begins back in high school. Before joining PEKO, Dan was operating machinery for a local shop. PEKO and Dan finding each other was a match made in heaven. Dan created and ran a model shop, allowing him to use his creative manufacturing ideas to help customers get their parts faster and more cost effective. After his success in the model shop, Dan was promoted to Executive Level, tasked with bringing on new customers to grow the company and provide it the safety of a wide customer portfolio. Dan has achieved that vision as the company is now producing $60M in revenue with roughly 3 dozen active customers. His passion for precision manufacturing and machinery are evident in any interaction he has, and that passion has permeated to all his employees.