There are all kinds of things that product design companies can do for you if you’re trying to make your idea into a reality. When you’re hunting for the right company, though, there are some points of emphasis that you won’t want to ignore. Today we’ll look at some of those so you’ll know what to bring up with the most likely candidates.
What Do You Need to Provide During the Product Brief?
The product brief is when you bring your idea to the industrial design company. It’s when you lay out for them the concept for the product and any blueprints you have. You show them the prototype if one already exists. You explain to them where you want your products to be sold and who the ideal customers will be.
Some product design companies will ask for a very detailed breakdown of your product idea when you first meet with them. Others are fine with a vague description because they have the expertise to take things over for you from there. If you have minimal product design skills yourself then what you’ll need is a company that can essentially create the product from scratch.
Do They Provide Supply Chain Services?
Product design companies also vary in terms of what they provide in the area of supply chain services. Do they know where to get the raw materials that will go into making the products, for instance? Do they already have the connections to whom they can reach out? A full-service company should have no problems sourcing the raw materials out of which your product will be made.
What’s the Cost of Product Design versus Product Design with Manufacturing and Delivery?
It could be that you already have an established company and you’re trying to add a new product when you already have many other successful ones. If that’s the case, then you probably need product design exclusively because the manufacturing and delivery capabilities are already in place.
If you’re getting started and this is your first product, though, you’ll likely require the manufacturing and delivery services as well. If so, it’s a full-service product design company that you’ll need. That’s going to be more expensive, but if you have the budget for it, then the convenience factor is going to play a part in your selection process. It’s always great if you can get your product design, manufacturing, and delivery services all from the same entity.
Can You Get a Pricing Breakdown?
When you’re looking at product design services, you want more than a vague estimate of what everything is going to cost. No doubt you’ve budgeted very carefully, and you have money earmarked for every aspect of the product design journey.
Therefore, you want a company that can tell you explicitly what each part of the process is going to cost, from the prototyping to the user testing to the manufacturing to the shipping. They should be able to provide you this information quickly without a lot of obfuscation. If they don’t seem to know how much the services they provide should cost, then that’s a strong indication that they’re new to the industry and they probably don’t have enough experience to provide the services that you want from them.
Is There a Way to Optimize Certain Parts of the Process to Reduce Overhead?
You might be able to save a bit of money with some product design companies if you ask them to undertake several different parts of the design process rather than just one. Optimization or streamlining of the process might be possible if they’re doing several different phases of the process at the same facility using some of the same individuals.
You’re always looking to save money, and your product design company should be sensitive to your financial constraints. You may be able to reach a deal if you don’t have quite as much as they’re asking. You may need a company with a little flexibility if you’re trying to get a new product off the ground and you have limited financial aid from partners, banks, or credit unions.
Who’s in Charge?
It’s not likely that there’s any one person who’s “in charge” of the whole product design company. Instead, you’re trying to figure out who’s going to be masterminding your particular project if you decide to go ahead and employ this company.
Maybe there will be several different individuals who will be looking after the various aspects of what you need to get done, like product design, user testing, market research, etc. You should be able to put a face to a name and meet all of them. Get an idea of their personalities and figure out if they’re a group that inspires confidence. If you feel that they are, then you can move forward. If you’re feeling hesitant, then you might want to reconsider.
What’s the Turnaround Time for Key Decisions?
As the person who hired the product design company, you get the final say on all crucial matters related to the product. However, you should know who’s going to be having a substantial influence over the team that’s working for you, and you should know how long it’s going to take to make the judgment calls as the process moves along.
It’s helpful to set up a timetable so that your team can adhere to it as much as possible. If they’re not going to make a deadline, then they should tell you beforehand so you can adjust as need be. You don’t want to set a hard deadline for some aspect of the process, and then you discover at the last minute that the team isn’t going to make it. Your project heads should have open lines of communication with you at all times.
If you talk about all of these aspects of product design with the representatives of the agency that you are considering, then you should have an idea of what they can do, and they should have some knowledge of what you expect from them. It’s that communication that makes it most likely that both of you will walk away from the relationship feeling happy and fulfilled.