Companies oftentimes have a need to outsource product development. Either they don’t have enough engineers or they don’t have engineers with the necessary technical expertise on staff. At times you may need to turn to an engineering design services partner to assist with product development. Choosing that partner can be challenging, so we have compiled some tips that will hopefully make your search a little easier.
Don’t Limit Your Search Geographically
It’s quite common for design teams, maybe even your own internal teams, to be located in different parts of the country or internationally. The most capable design firms aren’t always located in your backyard. The best firms are quite accustomed to working remotely and have all the tools in place to do it efficiently. Many firms have clients located hundreds or thousands of miles away, and most of these firms are happy to give you examples of clients and projects that they have worked with remotely.
Pick a Company with Comprehensive Engineering Capabilities
Expertise across engineering disciplines and across various technologies is important. There are efficiencies to be gained when your design firm of choice can keep activities internal. Look for a firm that has not only depth of experience but also breadth across the technologies of interest. Best results are usually obtained if you can outsource to one company rather than spreading it across a number of different firms.
Choose the Best Value Design Firm
Choosing the lowest cost design firm isn’t necessarily the best choice and can often result in wasted time and money. Evaluate the firms you are considering to make sure they can provide both value and expertise. Establish your budget and then choose the firm that has the capabilities to do the job and the accountability to stick to the budget. Choosing the cheapest firm can result in products with poor quality or products that never even get finished at all. Instead, pick a firm that offers you the best value for your investment.
Be Concerned About Intellectual Property
Your intellectual property is one of the most valuable assets of your company. How will the design firm you are considering to protect it? Do they have IT systems and processes in place to keep your information safe? How do they handle working with vendors when sourcing components for your project? Make sure they will only disclose the information that you find acceptable to disclose. Are some of the firms you are considering located overseas? For the domestic firms, do they outsource any of the project work out of the country? Overseas design firms and contract manufacturers may not have the same respect for your intellectual property that you might desire.
Evaluate the Product Development Process
Firms that use a proven product development process are usually the most successful at bringing products to market on time and within budget. Does the firm you are considering have a process in place that breaks the project down into bite-size pieces? Design teams that take a phased approach to product development (such as Requirements, Architecture, Design, Prototyping, Testing, and Manufacturing) are usually the quickest and most efficient at developing products. Does the team you are considering have an ISO certified quality management system in place? Do they schedule design reviews at key points during the process?
Establish Clear Communications with Your Engineering Services Provider
Most critical during product development is clear communication. Be sure the company you choose is capable of keeping you updated during the development process. Evaluate their ability to communicate via email, video conferences, status reports, and any other methods you prefer to stay fully informed. Ideally, a project manager should be assigned to your project, who can serve as the main point of contact and is ultimately responsible for the success of your project.
Product development can be a daunting adventure, but an experienced design partner will get you to the finish line with a high-quality product ready for market. Hopefully, these tips will help you choose the design partner best matched to your company and your design needs.
Contact Our Team
Indesign, LLC is a multi-discipline engineering design firm that provides full turnkey electronic product development to allow clients to get their new product ideas into the market quickly. Indesign offers complete product development capabilities, starting with a product concept and finishing with a ready-to-manufacture design. Indesign has an ISO certified product development process and a proven track record for on-time, on-budget, high-quality product realization. To learn more about us and our services, contact us at (317) 377-5450 today!