Knowing that a new product or device needs to be designed, developed and engineered is the first step to potentially changing the future of a business. Sometimes it’s easy to recognise help is required but sometimes a project can be in full flow before a lack of expertise and resource is obvious. The design and development process is a large investment for any company, but one that’s very worthwhile, when successful.
A lack of expertise and resource can hamper or completely prevent this success as it will lead to inefficient development and projects running late. Add to this overworked staff, higher costs and a significant increase in the risk of something going wrong then there’s a strong argument to put new product development on the back burner!
However, for companies to be truly successful over the long term, innovation and new product development is essential for them to grow and flourish. So how can this be done successfully and what can be done if a company is already mid-flow in development and help is required urgently?
- Stand back to thoroughly review the overall project to assess what must be done and when. A simple ease/benefit/risk scoring system will quickly flush out key tasks, if you are unsure where to start.
- Carefully consider your current development resource and restructure the team to suit the key requirements identified.
- If lack of expertise or resource is an issue, train team members to fill the gap. On the job training with an expert mentor can work wonders.
- Can the team work more effectively – not longer, or harder? Simple changes, guidance and perhaps some new kit can dramatically improve team performance.
- If not, then could contract staff fill the shortfall? Consider the best ones are usually busy, will want a good length of contract and will likely need to move on once the project is on track so a decent amount of work will be required for this option.
- If there’s time to recruit, then good success can be had with simple and low cost, online advertising and using your own networks. Ultimately you know exactly what you need and who will fit into your team.
- Use an external design and development company – so how do you ensure they can deliver what’s needed?
- Check they have the right accreditations, fully audited ISO 9001 as a minimum. ISO 13485 if it’s a medical device.
- Check out reputations and recommendations online, be sure they are known to be easy to work with.
- Meet with them and explore if they are on the right wavelength, a simple web meeting will save time. Have they got real expertise and who do they use for that?
- Do they listen and understand what you really need? There’s nothing wrong with challenge if that helps them get to your true requirements.
- Don’t get hung up on rates. Speak to their existing clients and find out if they can truly develop products, solve problems and provide good value.
- Do they have a recognisable process and the flexibility to deliver what you need in the time you’ve got?
There will always be risks and challenges in product and medical device development, it simply cannot be avoided. It’s obvious really, if the solution is easily recognisable it’s already been done or not worth doing! So, don’t get bogged down if a lack of resource or expertise is a problem.
There are always options, if you take the time to consider them. If you are struggling with any of the challenges above, please get in touch.