Many design firms end the product development process at design documentation, with no participation in manufacturing. For many projects this works fine. However, when the product is complex or innovative, handing off the project before manufacturing may not be sufficient. That’s why it’s a good idea to look for a product development firm that has experience working with manufacturers and vendors, including an ability to manage the project through production. Even if your company employs product production veterans, a product development group can offer these five additional benefits:
- Speed. Having your product development firm transfer the design to a manufacturer and offer support can expedite the delivery of your product. The team that developed the product can often answer production questions and make requested changes much more quickly than in-house engineers who are unfamiliar with the design and design intent.
- DFM. Some design refinement is to be expected as parts move from prototype and short runs to full production. The product development engineers have already put lots of thought into this and discussed it with the production vendor. They can easily make minor design changes that improve quality without compromising design intent.
- Continuity. This is especially important for a regulated product or one that needs to be approved by a third party, like the FDA. Product development does not end with drawings; it doesn’t even end with the parts or assemblies. In the eyes of most certifying organizations, product development includes some form of validation of production parts. Again, it is much easier for the group who developed the product to validate that the production units meet requirements.
- Convenience. In today’s global manufacturing environment. Many decisions are not made on a typical 9-to-5 EST schedule. Even small delays in decision-making can jam up larger production schedules. Having a group who is set up to meet with foreign vendors on their schedule and manage international suppliers can greatly reduce the headaches associated with bringing a new product to market.
- Experience. The reason many companies choose to engage a development firm is to innovate within their industry or to break into a new market. It’s amazing how helpful a fresh perspective can be at these times—from a firm that operates outside established production methods and supply networks. BOLTGROUP has experience with a vast array of manufacturing processes and expertise managing design transfer in each of these. We offer unique logistics and DFM support that our clients often cannot.
So, great design only becomes a great product when it has good stewardship throughout the process. In selecting a development partner, it is critical to look for excellent design and innovation credentials, but it is just as important to consider design transfer capabilities. A great design on paper won’t be a great design in the market unless you have a trusted partner to provide manufacturing support.