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Hand holding a new product.
  1. Hand holding a new product.

It is becoming more and more common for entrepreneurs with either large and small companies to outsource all or parts of their product development to third parties. This decision is due in large part to today’s requirements for fast-paced innovation with shorter windows of opportunity. Most start-up companies don’t have the resources to do adequate product development in-house.  And there is no reason why it should be done this way when it is possible to reduce risk, lower costs, and decrease cycle times by factors of 60 – 90 per cent by outsourcing product development. 

Some of the areas of product development that require engineering analysis, design, and expertise and are suitable for outsourcing are component design, materials specifications, machinery to process, ergonomic design, packaging design, assembly drawings and specifications, parts and material sourcing (supplies),  an operator’s and owner’s manuals.

When using other companies to do part or all of the product development, it is important to understand that they work with many other companies, so no single company will be a high priority for them.  That is important to plan well in advance and allow extra time for delays that strategic partners might cause in the time- to -market plan. If the time-to-market is the most crucial factor in a business’s success, it may want to consider doing tasks that could delay the process in-house rather than outsourcing them and being dependent on someone else’s time schedule.

It is also a good idea to help suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) understand that the partnership will be a win-win relationship, so they have a vested interest in seeing it succeed. Contracts should be drawn up with every consultant, original equipment manufacturer, or vendor with whom the company does business so that there will be no confusion about what is expected and needed. During the process, it is vital to stay in touch with outsource vendors and to be available to answer questions as they arise.


Six Elements Crucial To Successful Product Realization

Going from an idea to a commercial product is not easy. Here are the top six elements you must have in place to be successful.

1. A multidisciplinary team that works well together

2. Excellent communication skills that help you communicate ideas, information, and data both verbally and in written form.

3.  The ability to design for manufacture effectively by reducing the number of parts needed, developing modular designs, and designing multi-functional parts.

4. Computer-aided design systems (CAD) that enable you to design product specifications by creating images and then assigning mass, kinematics, material, geometry, and many other properties to the product.

5. Ethical standards of conduct on the part of both the industry and the team.

6. Creative thinking that lets the team make new connections and expand the scope of opportunities.

Bernard Taiwo
I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.