So, your company has a brilliant idea for an electronic product that will change the world. You are confident of the product’s success, you have the capital, but you don’t have the resources and expertise to design and manufacture it.
Whether it’s consulting, or developing an electronic product, electronic design services companies exist for the sole purpose of bringing their years of experience to develop your product. In addition, the majority of electronic design services companies offer complimentary services: complex FPGA design services, embedded software design, and low-volume prototyping to high-volume manufacturing services.
But how do you choose the right company? One that can meet all your specific needs?
It can be a daunting search, especially when your decision can impact your success or failure. A great electronic design company will develop your product on time and on budget, whereas an inexperienced electronic design company might end up with endless costly delays and bugs.
This article will help you through this decision-making process.
Like any other purchasing decision, the first step in the process is to look inside and find out what is important to you and your company. When you start the research to see “who is out there”, you’ll realize there are several hundreds of electronic design companies offering similar services. The easiest way to make a decision is by knowing your criteria and priorities. It’s only you that can decide what is more or less important for your company.
After building an initial list, try to weigh the different options and define the importance of each item on the list.
For example, your company wants to outsource the design of a networking product and you have two electronic design companies as candidates. The first is an electronics design company with little experience in networking products. They propose a long development time, but they are cheap. The second company has 15 years of experience in designing network products. They can develop the product quickly, but are more expensive.
Which would you choose?
At the end of the day, you want to make the decision based on your pre-defined criteria and priorities. Therefore, it is best practice to make the list before you start the process of researching for electronic service design companies.
Once you have your “wish list” set, you should focus on technical expertise.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to hire an electronic design company that has previous experience within the specific domain of your target product. If your project requires experience in designing medical devices, for example, look for companies with a proven experience in this domain.
At the end of the day, you will leverage from an experienced supplier: quicker time to market, cheaper, smaller and in high standard.
Yes, you want the most experienced design team to work on your product, but you also want an experienced management team that is actively involved in your project and offers ideas and solutions to make your product smarter, more reliable, etc.
Ask to see the management CV or check their profile on LinkedIn. If possible, ask to meet them in person before you sign the contact.
Having direct contact to the electronic design company top management will help you keep your project in high priority within the company and will help you resolve conflicts and delays quickly and effectively.
Which size fits you best: large or small? The size of the electronic design company will most probably affect the services you receive.
Larger companies often have a large pool of engineers, which can accelerate the development process and ensure your project is still moving if people are sick, for example. Smaller companies would be more fragile if someone has decided to take a long vacation.
On the other hand, your company will get much more individual and personal service from a smaller company, while you may be just another “number” in a large company.
You may have had already a few good meetings with the electronic design company where you discussed requirements, budget and milestones. That’s all nice, but you must also see a detailed schedule with all the planned activities and milestones such as design reviews, sign off to production etc.
Moreover, a documented plan will be useful during the development process and will help you monitor and track the project. Once you have a plan in hand, you can follow the development plan to see how things are going.
If the electronic design company has been around for a while, they must have customers or even repeat customers. Try to find out more about their past or existing customers (ask for their contact information).
Is the customer happy with the design services company?
Did the design services company meet customer expectations?
Where there any issues during the development process? How were they resolved?
Will the customer work with them again?
A great sign of a successful electronic design house is repeat customers. If possible, find electronic design companies that have a record working on multiple projects for the same customers.
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