Choosing the Right Engineering Partner

One of the biggest challenges in choosing the right engineering partner comes from the broad and versatile range of engineering. 

  • Applying every standard of what makes a quality software engineer to what makes a quality mechanical engineer will not make sense for every product. 
  • Custom automated machine design and integration requires similar application of holistic engineering disciplines but has remarkably different goals for high volume PCB assembly. 
  • When you invest your dollars in an engineering partner, your growth, your employees, your reputation, and your opportunity cost for pursuing other means with those dollars’ rests in their hands. 

Here is how you can separate the engineers from those that make promises and those that find solutions.

Business First

A common misstep in the early stage of an engineering partnership is to base the decision purely on engineering capacity. There is an insidious truth that with infinite time, effort, and money, any process can be automated. Any quality engineer can find one solution. Any quality engineer can take orders and design a product that works once. If your only goal is to design a part, there are a variety of ways to solve that engineering problem. Here is why you should not accept any engineering partner:

  • You do not have infinite money. A workable solution must be vetted for margins, your market, and your ability to scale. You can create a product or solution that meets your requested solution, but comes with impractical materials, high engineering costs, and low profitability.
  • You do not have infinite time. A workable solution must have a swift return on investment (ROI). Your innovative idea has a limited amount of time to carve its innovative niche and secure its position in the market. A workable design delivery that takes a decade to complete may arrive in a market that has already moved on.
  • You do not want to apply infinite effort. Infinite effort might sound like you are getting your money’s worth, but what you are really describing is an aimless development. You describe a project that bloats its scope with unnecessary design choices and logarithmic increases in cost, timeline, and the management hours you must supply.

A true engineering partner knows the project is a means to an end for your business. They understand how to put dollars on your bottom line and how to get that revenue to you as fast as possible without sacrificing quality.

  • Understanding your Business- A real engineering partner starts by asking you questions about your business, not telling you what they are going to engineer. They collect data, they collect metrics, they interview your management about the goals of your company and what you are trying to achieve with this new product. They match the engineering goals upfront with business continuity, monetary efficiency, and scoping discipline.
  • Industry Specific Knowledge- A good engineering partner fits your custom design to your market industry. They understand the wash down particulars of food technology. They understand the durability needed for products in rugged industrial equipment. They understand the sterility of medical products. They understand the precision of military and off highway OEM parts. They understand the signal integrity of aerospace. They understand that a completely workable solution to an engineering problem might waste your time, money, and effort if it does not match your market.
  • Cross Functional Expertise- A single source, vertically integrated team guarantees that your product benefits from a design team that talks, plans, and collaborates between every engineering discipline. Whether you are talking embedded hardware or a full custom automated system, you are talking about a combination of software, mechanical, and electrical design. Siloing that information, segregating your team, or intentionally farming discipline specific design and build to multiple third parties exposes your solution to risk. When communication is the number one cause of errors, scope bloat, and change orders, eliminating disconnection between your design team is critical.
  • Design for Manufacturing (DFM)- A real engineering partner does not stop at finding a solution. They take that solution and refine it for cost effective substitutions, alternative parts, and repeatable engineering. A quality engineering partner makes design choices that increase the margins on your products without limiting your competitive advantage. Even in prototypes or small batches, their engineering choices allow for scaling to full mass production.
  • Design for Assembly (DFA)- A real engineering partner plans your solution around ease of assembly. They design parts for interchangeability with your other machines and products. They simplify the designs, reduce steps in assembly, and reduce costs. A quality engineering partner respects that longevity is just as much about fiduciary longevity as engineering longevity. 
  • Communication- A true engineering partner decreases your mutual risks with scheduled communication. They outline the development stages, gate the engineering with mutual approval, and balance scheduled communication with ad hoc meetings. They involve client feedback at every important benchmark while taking ownership of the technical development details.

Our single source, vertically integrated team of mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, software engineers, industrial designers and technical writers combine technical expertise with business acumen. Tell us more about your project, schedule a virtual meeting, or call (262)-622-6104 to learn how DEVELOP LLC create seamless engineering projects with painless engineering ownership.