Before an outsourcing provider gets involved, every product, even a brand-new one, carries a great deal of unseen history. Engineering choices, discoveries from early prototypes, hours of discussions in meetings, and conversations in passing or over lunch have taken place.
Unfortunately, such information may be unknown by anyone outside of the project. Even those working on the project will have internalized most of it to the point where they are unable to articulate anything specific about the ebb and flow of design ideas.
A contract manufacturer coming from the outside is definitely not going to be able to perceive all the facets of the product. Yet it is in the best interest of the OEM that every useful detail about the product be gathered from the minds of the designers and transferred to the contract manufacturer. The process of encapsulation helps to do this.
Encapsulation helps codify the history and concepts that make up the product. Packages can include the following as needed:
• Engineering specifications.
• Manufacturing procedure documents.
• Quality procedure documents.
• Assembly graphics.
• Go/no-go boards.
• Example assemblies.
Simply making the package, however, is not enough. There is a great deal of finesse (and controversy) around their delivery, whether they are called program elements, capsules, or packages. A word of caution here—engineers may not be the best choice for delivering such packages. If an OEM has a strong training group, that team would be ideal for deciding what to present, in what order, and in what detail. The training team is accustomed to presenting information in several different learning modes, mixing visual, auditory, and kinesthetic material. For example, a presentation should use charts and graphs. It could also incorporate something attendees can hold in their hands.
The key is to present as many concepts in as many modes as possible. This becomes especially important when design occurs in one language, location, and culture, but manufacturing will take place in another language, location, or culture. Ultimately, carefully crafted photographs and multimedia offer a universal language, but keep in mind that pictures alone are not likely to tell the whole story.