So you’ve made the decision to outsource your product development. Congratulations! You’re increasing your chances of product success by bringing experienced professionals into the process.
But now, you’ve got another decision to make, and it will determine which of two paths you continue down. One path leads to multiple different companies, each of which handles one aspect of your product development process. If we were to visualize this path, you could look down it and see lots of little branches coming off of it – one goes to an engineering firm, another to a manufacturer, another to a market research company, and on and on.
The second path leads to a single-source product development firm. This one looks a bit different: instead of multiple branching pathways, this one is straight and easy to follow, and leads directly to one single company.
If you were to guess which path would give you the smoothest path toward getting your product to market, which would you choose? We’re guessing you’d say the single-source path – it’s certainly the most direct. But that’s not the only reason so many product developers choose single-source development companies when they’re outsourcing their product development.
Using multiple companies on a single project involves a great deal of back-and-forth – and if you don’t have a separate project manager, that back-and-forth all has to go through you.
Instead of explaining your product idea once, you have to explain it multiple times, ensuring that each vendor you’re using understands the complexities of your project. If questions arise while one of your vendors is working on the project, you’ll either have to answer them yourself, or get the answers from another vendor. This can pretty quickly become exhausting and time-consuming.
A single-source firm, however, will usually assign a project manager to your project, and it’s that person who will serve as the point of contact throughout the process. Since this person will become intimately familiar with the details of your project, he or she will be able to answer many questions about the project on his or her own. That means you spend a lot less time answering questions about specs, materials, and other basic information about your product.
In addition, a single-source firm already has established contacts and partners, and they’ll be ready to work on your project as soon as the product is ready.
This can take a huge amount of pressure off of you, as you won’t be searching for vendors for weeks or even months while your product sits and waits to enter the next stage of development.
Because of its streamlined approach, a single-source product development firm will generally result in significantly lower costs than using many different companies.
One reason for this is that part of what you’re paying when you pay outside firms is the project’s start-up and administrative costs: getting your project’s files into the company’s system, onboarding any staff who will be working on the project, etc.
You pay these costs with a single-source firm too, of course, but you only have to pay them once. That means the rest of your money is going toward actual product development.
And money isn’t the only resource you save with a single-source partner. You’ll also save a lot of time getting your product to market, which is vital when you’re trying to out-compete your competitors.
Single-source firms know that if your project goes off-schedule, there are only two possible players to blame: the client or the firm. Single-source product developers are therefore ready to take accountability if mistakes are made, deadlines are missed, or communication loses focus. Unless the client made a major change or didn’t provide information, there’s really no one else who bears responsibility.
Because of that, single-source firms maintain strict accountability among their employees and departments. This is especially important when you’re dealing with changes to a design, or a second round of prototypes.
That’s not to say that other companies won’t be accountable for what they do, but it’s can be more difficult to pinpoint where things got off track when five or six or more companies are involved in the process.
If you’re thinking of outsourcing your product development, schedule a free consultation with Pivot to learn more about how single-sourcing your process can increase your chances of success.