We have all heard or used the phrase “Guess we got lucky” when something goes our way. While that may apply to lottery tickets, it absolutely does not apply to successful product design and development. We have a saying at Catalyst: “Most consumers give no thought to the effort it takes to bring even the simplest product to market—but if we have done our jobs right, they shouldn’t have to”. Think about that for a second. When you purchase a product that works exactly like it should, you usually do not give it much thought because, that’s what it was designed to do. But, when you find a product that does not work well or is cumbersome to use, the response varies from frustration to anger. We have all had it happen, too. You order that thing online that you think will work wonderfully and it turns out to be a complete disappointment. We are not talking about possible quality issues that create problems—but the actual design of the product itself. Obviously, most companies do not set out to design poor products and it has nothing to do with “bad luck”. It usually indicates that something somewhere in the process did not go as planned.
SEEKING AN OUTSIDE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT VIEWPOINT IS BETTER THAN ANY FOUR LEAF CLOVER
So how does one insure against success-challenged product design?
Catalyst works with many clients in almost every industry—in fact there is probably not an industry we have not touched. Many of our larger customers have almost limitless resources at their disposal—literal armies of engineers, designers, manufacturing experts. Yet, they also utilize Catalyst’s services to both extend their internal resources and get an outside fresh perspective. We talk a lot about tunnel vision at Catalyst: The scenario where you are so close to what you are working on that obvious solutions are often hidden from view. Our clients recognize the benefit of a sanity check now and then and it takes a bold, forward thinking organization to do so. Design consultancies such as Catalyst are exposed to many different projects from many varied industries, and often there are cross-over solutions that may not be apparent to those working within a contained market. It is the not knowing what you do not know that can often hide creative solutions.
USING REALITY DRIVEN DESIGN & PLASTIC PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT IS EASIER THAN FINDING A LEPRECHAUN
Most, if not all, of our clients have a very clear understanding of their core-competency. While they have the resources and capabilities to generate incredible product lines and brand families, they also intuitively know when it is time to seek an outside opinion. Catalyst’s core-competency is holistic product design and plastic product development—it’s all we do and we do it very well. Our clients recognize the benefit of this. They know when they need outside design support or development of complex plastic components utilizing specialty resins, we are the team they turn to. They understand that our entire business model is focused on providing creative rapid solutions to not-so-obvious challenges.
LET SPEED-TO-MARKET BE YOUR POT OF GOLD
Another thing that we try to convey at Catalyst is the concept of speed to market. Many times during traditional product development a chaotic repeating loop forms between design-prototype-test-repeat when multi-disciplinary departments or multiple vendors are involved. As project timelines begins to stretch, errors can be made as attempts are made to recover lost time. Time is critical during product development because the future anticipated profits are being invested upfront. The longer it takes to get a product on the shelf, the longer it will take to recoup the design investment, lowering the lifetime margins. The Catalyst business model is vertically integrated. We have designers working next to engineers working next to manufacturing and assembly experts. A product design challenge that might take two (2) weeks to resolve utilizing multiple resources might only take a couple of hours within our facility.
So, if your organization is working on a challenging product design or simply needs expertise with complex plastic product development, don’t just rely on luck to get things right. Consider contacting someone who does it all the time.