Many of the smaller businesses we work with understand that in order to get their product from the concept stage to production, they will need to hire an outside product development firm or product design company. The larger businesses that we work with often have their own engineering and development groups internally. They can decide whether to execute certain product design and development projects internally, or to work with an outside firm.
In the latter scenario, there are a few questions that engineering directors, VPs, and project managers can ask to help decide whether or not to hire a product design company as they try to push their projects forward:
- Do your internal R&D teams or engineering teams have the skill set to successfully take the product through to manufacturing hand-off? If a new product is an extension of existing products that your business already sells, the answer to this may be yes. If the product is truly new to your organization, or has specific elements that are new, it is a good idea to consider using an outside product design company. An example that we see frequently is a business that has been selling a product for years, and they want to add intelligence to the product. This can be in the form of sensor integration, communication to the cloud, or solar power generation to augment on-board batteries. In these cases, an outside team with relevant experience will increase the chances of successful outcomes.
- Is your internal team already running at capacity? If so, it will be nearly impossible for them to achieve the kind of development velocity that most companies envision once they start a new product design project. Bringing on an outside product design company can keep your intern teams focused on their existing priorities, while quickly working through development of the new product.
- Does an external product development company exist that is going to be able to quickly come up to speed on your needs, your business, and your constraints? New clients of ours are often curious about whether we have developed products very similar to what they envision for their new product. Often, the answer is, “No, but we have developed these five other things that each have an element that is relevant to your product.” Look at the company’s portfolio, not just on their own website, but on others like Core 77 Design Directory. Also look for online content showing that the firm’s leaders are authorities in product design and development. For example, check out this article on Prototyping in VR that was recently published on GoEngineer.com.
If you answered no to either of the first two questions, it is worth considering an outside product design company for your project. To answer question three, do some research, and you may find a firm that feels like the right fit for your project.