According to the father of modern project management, James P. Lewis, “Projects do not fail at the end; they fail at the beginning.” Today, Lewis’s words ring truer than ever, and if ever there was a type of project that illustrates his point, it’s new product development.

At Pivot International, we’re a leading product design, development, and manufacturing firm that has helped hundreds of companies deliver successful innovations to market. With one-source expertise and nearly fifty years of experience, we’ve learned that the end success depends almost entirely on its beginning.

Product Development — A Problem That is Scheduled for a Solution

The product development process has been described as a “problem that is scheduled for a solution.” We think this is an excellent definition, though product development is never just a problem to be solved. In fact, it is more accurately understood as an exciting opportunity. But capitalizing on this opportunity requires a proper understanding of the problem — something that most companies seeking a product development partner don’t have.

The reason for this is simple: it isn’t their job. Instead, it’s the job of their product development partner. The trouble, however, is that many product development partners are not any more equipped to properly understand the problem than the customer who is counting on them to solve it. The reason for this is twofold. First, properly understanding the problem depends on knowing the right questions to ask. And second, it depends on having the expertise and technological investment to put the answers into action.

With this in mind, here are the four most crucial questions your product development partner needs to help you answer from the get-go.

1. How do we ensure the product development process will go smoothly, seamlessly, and efficiently?

Successful product development depends first and foremost on high levels of integration across all stages of the broader process: proof-of-concept, prototyping, design, development, manufacturing, and distribution. When multiple companies handle this process in a piecemeal fashion, the chances are high that it will be plagued by various types of breakdowns, blindspots, missteps, and other unnecessary and costly interruptions. But with a one-source partner, the problem your product exists to solve is examined from every possible angle and approached holistically. And because all stages of product development occur under a single umbrella, the result is a smooth, seamless, efficient process.

2. How do we ensure that the optimal technology is being selected for use-case?

Answering this question requires a partner with technical diversity with proven application across a wide range of successful products. Unfortunately, when companies choose a product development partner with a limited technology suite, solutions tend to be prescribed for use-cases that may be viable but not necessarily optimal. At Pivot, we undertake an exhaustive investigation into your product’s use case to ensure it’s perfectly matched with the right combination of solutions.

3. How do we ensure the project is protected from supply chain disruption?

Companies from startups to enterprises are now rightfully wary of supply chain disruption and the risks it poses to product development. While risk is a necessary part of doing business, some partners offer more protection than others. Partners that own their facilities, have access to a diversified global sourcing network, and excel in supply chain management are the safest bets when selecting a partner. At Pivot, even at the peak of 2020’s supply chain disruption, our risk management strategies enable us to offer clients secure, cost-effective sourcing alternatives that help keep their projects on track, on time, and on budget.

4. How do we ensure that our product can be cost-effectively manufactured at scale?

No matter how innovative, attractive, functional, and otherwise market-worthy your product might be, all bets are off if you can’t cost-effectively manufacture it at scale. This is why it’s crucial to properly understand the problem your product exists to solve from a DFM perspective. Design For Manufacturing (DFM) seeks to answer the question of how to reconcile design and engineering investment with manufacturing costs. At Pivot, our in-house DFM expertise might be considered our greatest superpower. Even if you choose a partner that delivers an integrative process, technical diversity, and supply chain security, it won’t be enough without DFM. This is why at Pivot, we see DFM as the “glue” that holds the answers to all other questions together.

Is your company preparing to bring a new product to market? Are you looking for a partner with a stellar track record of success and a reputation for working collaboratively with your team? At Pivot, we are the trusted partner behind some of the world’s most impressive and award-winning products across fourteen markets, including medical, industrial, fitness, consumer, agricultural, security, and more. Contact us today to learn more about how we can ensure your product’s success from day one! We look forward to working with you!