Take me on a Product Development Journey: HD’s WorkFlow

By 6 December 2018 News No Comments
development workflow

Where did HD’s Development WorkFlow come from, and what is it for?

Our heritage is built from challenging, fast turnaround, product and engineering development projects in a broad range of industries, so it has a very practical purpose. It was created to enable every project stakeholder, to easily see what needs doing and when. It’s used from our very first client meeting until our involvement in the project is complete. It’s been designed to be a highly visual document, a one pager, so a project’s requirements are crystal clear and all in one place. Our clients quickly understand they can enter, or leave at any phase or stage of the process, or just access one or two services to complete their projects faster. Creating a similar document would be very useful for any company developing new products.

Innovative, market-leading products don’t just ‘happen’, they need planning and development work needs to be done effectively. Our clients need to know what work needs to be done, understand the investment required and when to expect delivery – our WorkFlow is perfect for that. The added bonus for our own project managers and design team is that it’s just as clear to them. It enables everyone to work together for the same goal. Combining this approach with our ISO systems means we can develop products and medical devices more quickly, robustly and to the correct standards.

No two projects are the same, therefore we create a bespoke WorkFlow for every job we undertake. Everyone who’s used it loves it’s simplicity, and the logic it brings together so let’s move on to the WorkFlow itself…

 

Phase 1 – Concept:

Product Design Concept PhaseWe believe that to fully understand a client’s wants, needs and everything in between, we must fully immerse ourselves in the project. This is what Phase 1 is all about. The phase flows smoothly through Discovery & Design Immersion, into Concept Design and ends with Feasibility Studies. These initial stages cover everything from technical research and regulatory requirements, through to competitor and patent research. Also, user research, studies or focus groups are conducted to fully grasp user requirements too. Once users and market requirements are understood, we generate a range of concept ideas from a blend of creativity, engineering and manufacturing knowledge. Once feedback is obtained, we develop only the strongest ideas to a more refined level, incorporating 3D CAD models and photo realistic renderings to bring concepts to life.

Making an investment into feasibility studies ensures the project makes sense, they identify risks and areas to investigate or develop further. If you want to develop something new and innovative, there are significant risks which need to be considered. It’s important to make sure projects are fully feasible before clients commit to further investment. By conducting robust studies, some commercial, some technical and often both, means informed decisions can made quickly. Any high-risk areas will be clearly identified and considered before advancing to the next phase of work.

 

Phase 2 – Prototype:

Product Design Prototype PhaseOften the most exciting phase in product development, it’s when CAD models leave the virtual world and enter reality. The transition between Phase 1 and 2 is supported by various meetings to select a concept design which best suits the needs of the user and the commercial needs of your business. From the outset, manufacturing should be considered, something which reduces the risk of surprises when in Phase 3 – Design for Volume. This approach allows projects to move swiftly with a ‘right first time’ mentality. The investment needed for manufacture can sometimes be daunting so clear prototype data can help find the best prices and shortest time scales for prototype manufacture and build.

Working on novel and complex projects isn’t something that’s new to us which is why we occasionally introduce a second element to this phase (2B). This is to enable clients achieve the breakthrough required for their new technology or product. It’s a fact that with something complex and novel, then a number of iterations are likely to be required.

Lean product development is part of our ethos and the prototype build and testing stage is exactly that. The prototypes are often used to gather further insight and evidence of the products effectiveness using Human Factors studies. This information can then be fed back into the process to hone the design and ensure it is robust, as easy to use, and effective and possible.

 

Phase 3 – Design & Development for Volume:

Product Design for Volume PhaseDesigns have been chosen and developed, prototypes have been built and tested, now it’s time to apply full design controls to comply with the regulatory requirements for your product or medical device. It’s vital the design is as robust and cost effective as possible, which is why we optimise our designs through detailed development and thorough engineering. This is likely to include advanced CAD techniques, FEA, and Tolerance Analysis and more. The work done in this phase will ensure components function correctly across the range of manufacturing tolerances and can be assembled reliably. Once thoroughly design engineered, further prototyping is required to ensure designs are reliable, safe and of the highest quality before committing to final tooling.

Once all this is complete it’s time to move onto Industrialisation, we provide support throughout this process. Haughton Design pride ourselves on being highly flexible so we can be there for you as and when you need us.

Our approach to product design and engineering is user-centric as we understand that, ultimately, for your product to have the success it deserves, it must be well received by those using it. The way we work is built on years of experience, challenges and happy clients, which helps us really narrow down what works. As previously said, some clients go through the whole Workflow with us (see how we did this with the Airbox), however this isn’t always what’s required so thanks to our unique WorkFlow and flexible approach, we can help no matter where you are in your development journey. Please get in touch today to discuss your project or if you need help speed up your development process.