Considerations When Choosing a Product Development Company
These are a few thoughts on things to ask a product development company before you hire them.
Outsourcing product development to a third party, not only has the cost associated with it, but it can be a critical decision. In fact, it can make or break the career of a project manager, or a first line or middle level manager, or derail the dreams of entrepreneurs. So, I would like to offer some considerations and six questions to ask a product development company that you may be considering for your next important project.
1) Does the company have the working capabilities you need? Visit the company’s facilities if possible, and notice the level of organization, cleanliness, and overall layout. Has the space been conceptualized in a manner that is conducive for the personnel to perform at its best, or does it look thrown together? Just like our homes, workspaces must also have certain level of Feng Shui, so that the staff feels comfortable being there and performing the work. They are the ones that are going to make your product happen. Also make sure that appropriate equipment and instruments are available to be used during the development phase.
2) Does the company have the execution speed and capacity to respond to your schedule during product development, market launch, or pilot production phases? You want to partner with a company that shares your vision of the result for the product. Make sure that they have enough processes and checks in place to do a good job during design and manufacturing, without being dogmatic. You should be able to get a sense that there is room for flexibility in a disciplined manner with appropriate configuration and change management systems in place.
3) Does the company have a minimum part order? Large minimum part orders can be a risky upfront financial investment for product development. Aspirationally, there should be first pass success of the design. But realistically, there may be a need for a second pass. Nevertheless, you should ensure that the development company is proficient enough that success in two or a single pass has a high likelihood.
4) Does the company have the level of quality control need to execute a design that works, performs, and is done within your budget and schedule? Whether you are developing a medical grade product or a consumer product, it is paramount that your chosen design partner has the appropriate systems and checks in place to execute your design within your realistic constraints, which can be many. The more these checks are automated into state-of-the-art computer aided design tools, the smaller the chance details will be overlooked, and things will fall through the cracks.
5) Does the company work with your initial ideas and adds value to your product development process? Make sure that your chosen product development company does not insist in starting from scratch and reinventing the wheel if you already have advanced the design some. This can be more expensive. Instead, insist in partnering with a company that can add value to your process bringing broad capabilities, advising you with perhaps better ideas and ways of looking at solving the challenges of your design that perhaps you had not thought of, always being transparent and having your best interest in mind.
6) Does the company have the expertise required to support your design now and in the future? This one is perhaps the most important. When you outsource your product development, you are buying expertise, not just an extra pair of hands. Make sure that your future partner is a subject matter expert as evidenced by success in previous projects, experience, publications, patents, and a demonstrated willingness and ability to keep up with the latest technologies and design techniques and trends. Ask for their resumes, or maybe ask them to give you a tutorial on some technical topic you may be interested in. Don’t settle for just a sales pitch. After all, if you were hiring a lawyer or a physician, you would want the most competent professional on your side. It should be no different when hiring a product development firm.
If you need product development and electronics design expertise, and want to know A-WIT Technologies’ answers to these questions, check us out at https://a-wit.com/contact-us/
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