Look for a product development partner.
Look for an organization who can guide you through the execution and completion of a project. A partner you can trust to reliably meet or exceed your expectations. A team who is an extension of your own team. A relationship you can depend on for many years, many projects and many success stories.
Look beyond the product development firm’s proposal. Look for four qualities that indicate a powerful product development partner.
THE IDM APPROACH
The advantages of working with a single organization that has competencies in all relevant technical areas cannot be overstated. This is the “Integrated Development Method” (IDM) approach; it delivers proven, demonstrable advantages.
The IDM approach results in a single focal point of performance and accountability among the many complex functions necessary to deliver extraordinary products. Far less time is spent by the client managing the project and searching for additional help.
The advantages of combining all relevant skill sets in one organization are profound. Communication is enhanced, ideas flow clearly and quickly, roadblocks to innovation are knocked down, and synergies are created.
The IDM approach radically streamlines the product development process and increases speed to market. Advancing your products to the marketplace quickly and efficiently will enhance your business’s performance, generating significant and profitable results.
“DEEP FIRM” COMPETENCIES
When seeking a product development partner, select a “deep firm.” You need a partner who has a deep technical background in multiple product development disciplines. This is opposed to contract engineers, independent consultants or specialized design houses, who only provide competencies in a limited array of disciplines (i.e. “shallow firms”).
An advantage of working with a deep firm is that the proposed product will be scrutinized through the perspectives of multiple disciplines.
A recurring problem when working with industrial design firms is that a product is often elegantly, even artfully, designed and ergonomically correct, but simply does not perform from a practical standpoint. While aesthetically-pleasing, the product may not be functional, manufacturable or profitable. This is because designers are not engineers, and engineers are not product testing scientists, etc. When working with a deep firm, the design can be reviewed quickly and efficiently by specialists in many different development disciplines, avoiding problems and greatly enhancing the performance of the finished product.
SIGNIFICANT AND RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
In the world of product development firms, talk is cheap. Anyone can promise to do a good job. Look for a firm with significant and relevant experience.
Indicators include hundreds of patents granted and dozens of complex projects completed for world-class clients. Look for an organization with a well-rounded team which leverages diverse experience: designers, engineers, product testing experts, research specialists and scientists. Talk to the team about their history outside of the consultancy.
Ask about the firm’s project success rate and client loyalty.
Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Additionally, look for ample experience with relevant equipment, software, methodologies and technology platforms.
A COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
You will never find a product development firm who doesn’t promise quality. So, how can one assess an organization’s commitment to quality? Ask a potential product development partner how they back their promise. Do they offer any formal guarantees?
Ask if the organization has a Quality Management System (QMS) in place. If they do, ask to see their quality policy statement.
Look for certifications showing that their QMS complies with accepted standards, such as ISO 9001, and that they have been audited for compliance by an outside party. Medical device development requires a QMS which meets certain additional standards such as ISO 13485 and US FDA 21 CFR 820.
THE RIGHT PARTNER
Finding the right product development partner is a serious endeavor. Product development cycles are major investments. When evaluating a potential partner, look beyond the proposal. Look for a world-class firm, like bb7, who implements an IDM approach, has deep firm competencies, leverages a significant amount of experience and is committed to quality. Our standards are high so we can continue to satisfy our clients’ needs and surpass their expectations.