Choosing a design partner for your IIoT Electronics product
If you have an idea for a new IIoT electronics product that takes advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), how do you choose who to help you bring your product to market?
Here are four things that we recommend you consider when choosing an electronics product design partner:
Are they keen to design your electronics product no matter what? Will they help you develop a product that will be successful?
In any initial meeting a good design company will want to fully understand your product so that they can use their design expertise to add value. They might challenge, for example:
- How does your product idea or enhancement compare to products already in the market?
- How does technology employed meet customer needs?
- Is it being built to a price, or to achieve customer satisfaction?
- Functionality desired, based on experience of applying similar technology.
Understanding of the end to end process
Through the course of interactions, the design partner should demonstrate a thorough understanding of your product. Consequently, they can define how the manufacturing process can be optimised for your product’s requirements. If you are planning to sell in to Europe or North America, you will need to meet stringent compliance requirements. How well does your design partner understand these requirements and are you confident that they are able to design a product more likely to receive regulatory approval first time?
At BitBox we have an onsite manufacturing facility and everything we do is designed with manufacturing in mind, even down to ensuring that component parts are available and minimising the risk of obsolescence. Our EMC Chamber allows us to test components at the design stage to minimise the delays from non-compliance.
Experience and expertise
Choosing a partner should be the start of a long term relationship that offers guidance and support. This is regardless of whether you are looking at short production runs or aiming for mass production. To separate one IIoT electronics product design partner from another, verify:
- their experience in helping companies move from prototype into production. (Making a proof of concept is one challenge, but to make a product that is fit for sale takes extra expertise.)
- their work with companies throughout the product lifecycle, from original concept design to enhancements. (Successful products evolve over time. Great products are built with progress in mind, making future iterations more affordable, growing the commercial success of the product.)
- their approach to obsolescence. (Electronics components develop, as do the products that they are built for. A design partner that is proactive in managing obsolescence will understand the risk of using certain components that might limit the future production capability).
An individual or an organisation’s ‘integrity’ can be examined by the way they behave when no one is looking. You need to be able to work with a design partner you can trust.
- What do previous customers say about working with the design partner?
- Intellectual property; do the design files belong to you or the designer? This is critical when it comes to future product enhancements.
- Can the company demonstrate long-term relationships with customers, time and time again?
- How transparent is the company regarding faults? Will it tell you its RMA (Return Merchandise Authorisation), if it even knows it? This is the percentage of products returned because of faults.
- Is there a good personal connection?
Our recommendation is that you find a company that you can work with as a long term partner. One that keeps up to date with latest developments and can advise you on changes. A trusted supplier will be a huge benefit to the success of your IIoT electronics product and for your business.
At BitBox we offer a free one hour consultation and can provide indicative costings to support a business case or to secure funding. Many companies have found this initial discussion, an impartial review of their ideas, invaluable in ensuring they deliver a product which goes on to delight the end users. We’d love to chat with you about your idea; call us on 01256 799080 or email us to find out more.