Outsourced product development helps companies reduce costs, save time, and meet product goals. For many companies, outsourcing is an easy decision that yields many benefits. Development groups can take on single tasks to large complex projects. Most projects require multiple specialists from different fields, which include engineers, designers, and project managers. Product development teams, especially those that are multidisciplinary, specialize in helping established companies, start-ups, and entrepreneurs create innovative and intuitive products. Deciding to utilize a product development firm is easy, but which one do you choose?
To help you find the best product development firm for your needs, this guide provides insight on what to consider before engaging. Weather it’s a quick design or a complex engineering assignment, this is a guide to help you meet your product development goals. When analyzing a potential product development firm to partner with, consider the following compatibility aspects:
Things to consider
Chemistry between teams is important to achieving a fun and productive work relationship. Even if a firm has all the capabilities you need, poor synergy can make development unpleasant and yield disappointing results. A synergetic relationship goes beyond the business development team. Evaluate a firm’s team in terms of their day to day “bedside manner” as a part of your selection process. Find a product development firm that practices empathy and patience. A firm that can relate to your product or business likely has the experience and thoughtfulness to execute the project.
Every company’s portfolio is full of beautiful designs and powerful content. In addition to looking for projects like your own, look for work that showcases the disciplines that you need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the timeline, disciplines, input from their clients, and go to market success. Some companies only have one specialty, which may be ideal for a client that only needs that task, but these firms also may not be able to identify if a project needs more. A diverse portfolio shows capabilities across markets and products, which represents a high- level of experience. A firm that has mastered multiple industries will likely give you a point of view you may have overseen or give light to a new opportunity.
Delighted customers are the biggest green light for working with a product development firm. This reveals not only that they have excellent relationship management, but also that they can carry a product to market with success. Clients often have multiple product lines with distinct functions. A firm that can seamlessly work throughout a client’s product lines and categories, while maintaining the look, feel, and quality the end user expects, shows reliability and adaptability.
“Innovation” is a word that every product development firm uses to describe themselves. Product evolution can be achieved with a client’s partnership, but exceptional innovation is obtained by product development firms that invent their own products. The firms that produce their own products or services, understand innovation and the product life cycle. Product Development firms that are producing, launching, and sustaining a product in the market, have the skills and experience to help guide your product and business to success.
Matching Projects and Product Development Companies
Once you have a set of questions to ask your potential product development partner, you must find a reputable firm. Research the expertise and experience of firms you are interested in. The following is a list of product development firms and how they represent themselves:
MatchDeck reports Bressler Group is, a curious team, “With five disciplines under one roof, we work in multidisciplinary teams whose combined research, creative, and technical expertise adds value throughout a collaborative product-development process. This is how we remain reliably innovative... Bressler Group is a research-driven product innovation lab whose strategists, researchers, engineers, designers solve complex product design challenges.” (https://www.matchdeck.com/company-monitor/company/5684263/profile)
Design firm headquartered in San Francisco, with offices throughout the United States. Frog claims, “we design systems of brand, product, and service—but our focus on emotion remains. We strive to create the world as it should be, and our work results in experiences people love.” (https://www.frogdesign.com/about)
“An international design consulting firm that practices design thinking to design products, services, and digital experiences. The firm employs over 600 people in a number of disciplines including: Behavioral Science, Branding, Business Design, Communication Design, Design Research, Digital Design, Education, Electrical Engineering, Environments Design, Food Science, Healthcare Services, Industrial Design, Interaction Design, Mechanical Engineering, Organizational Design, and Software Engineering.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDEO)
“Los Angeles-based industrial design consultancy that assists companies in multiple stages of product development from customer research and concept generation through product engineering and production. Karten Design works in the fields of consumer electronics, and digital health, medical devices, housewares, business products, sporting equipment and transportation design.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KartenDesign)
Nectar Product Development
Nectar is an award-winning product development company based in southern California. Our product design and development process is an interdisciplinary approach combining industrial design, user experience design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering that ensures product designs are successfully executed into production. Established in 1992, we’ve been helping clients design products that connect to their users and expand their markets for over 20 years. (https://nectarpd.com/about/)
Novo’s LinkedIn page states, “NOVO is an engineering services company that provides product development services from inception through pilot manufacturing. We develop first-in-class products for our clients in the medical device, biotech instrument, digital printing, and commercial product markets. NOVO combines a robust development process, skilled engineering team, and optimized infrastructure to produce fast, high-quality solutions to the most difficult technical and design challenges.” (https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/650067)
Rev1 Engineering describes themselves on LinkedIn as, “a medical device product design, development and engineering company specializing in medical technology. REV.1 is the premier product development resource for medical device companies, proven to get start-ups and market leaders to their goals.” (https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/3494119/ )
RKS defines their company as, “RKS is a design and innovation consulting firm delivering human-focused solutions with global impact. Founded in 1980, RKS has utilized design as a strategic tool advancing client’s ability to focus on people’s needs and aspirations while creating sustainable business results and benefits to society.” (https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/106937/)
StarFish Medical describes their business as “award-winning design, development, and flexible manufacturing outsourcing services —100% dedicated to the medical device and life science marketplace. StarFish partners with innovative companies to create and manufacture breakthrough products for a full range of medical specialty areas including: Cardiovascular, Digital Health, IVD, Ophthalmology, Optics, and Ultrasound. StarFish expertise includes electronics, mechanical, human factors and software systems engineering.” (https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/107474/)
Finding a product development firm that is a good fit, from small to complex projects, is important. In all business partnerships, asking the right questions and equipping yourself with knowledge is key. For further information on product development and the terms associated, visit The Glossary