Do you have the next great idea for a brand-new product or an improvement for your existing product?  Naturally you will want to find the best design partner to help you bring your product to market! Here are four simple steps to help you choose the best design partner for your product:

1. Product Design Process from Start to Finish

A great design partner will have a full understanding of the specific manufacturing process your product requires. The design process kicks off everything and ensures that there are no issues once your product moves into production.  Your partner should be able to provide you with the peace of mind that risks are minimized, testing requirements are adhered to and that are able to design a product likely to receive regulatory approval.

2. Market Awareness

Don’t settle for a partner who only cares about designing your product without them providing you support and honestly about the product being successful and viable in the marketplace.   You will know immediately what intentions a firm has in your product.  If they are genuinely interested in understanding more about your product and how their design expertise will add value in the process you know you have the beginning of a successful partnership.  Here are 4 questions an invested partner should ask you:  

  1. How does your brand-new product idea or product improvement compare to current products already in the market?
  2. What is unique about your product vs similar products?
  3. How will your product meet the customer’s needs?
  4. Are there any elements required to deliver the full scope of benefits to the customer?
  5. Are there specific enclosures or custom packaging that make your product more attractive to the customer?

3. Straightforwardness

The cornerstone of any partnership is honestly and trust. You need to be able to work with a partner you know will tell you “not what you want to hear”, but what you need to hear.  Here are 3 things you should expect a partner to be open and accommodating to:

  1. A partner should, without hesitation, sign a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)
    1. It is very telling if they offer to sign one before you suggesting it to them.
  2. Intellectual Property
    1. Do they require that the design files stay their property or will they give them to you?
      • They should give them to you!  This is critical when it comes to future product enhancements.
    2. Personal Connection
      1. Is this a good fit for all parties involved? 
      2. Do you respect their opinion and have total confidence in them?
      3. Do you trust they will keep you up to date with latest developments?
      4. Do you trust them to be a supplier and benefit to you as your company grows?

4. Skill, Judgement and Prowess

Don’t think of a partnership as a short-term relationship.  All partnerships, especially the design component should be able to guide and support you whether you are producing short production runs or aiming for mass production. 7 Questions to ask a potential partner are:

  1. What experience do you have helping companies/individuals/start-ups move from prototype into production?
  2. Have you worked with companies/individuals/start-ups throughout the product lifecycle from original production to improvements?
  3. How do you manage obsolescence?

At PM Plastics, we offer free consultations and can provide upfront honest costings and suggestions to support a business case. Many clients have found this initial discussion very helpful as an impartial review of their product.  Our goal is to ensure both parties can deliver a product which functions well and is designed with the manufacturing process in mind.

Call us on 262-691-1700 or email to learn more.