You have an idea. What now?
We have the experience with product development to help you at any point of the process.
Requirements definition and feasibility studies
Together we can determine what your product is and exactly what it needs to do without any unnecessary pieces, which saves you money and time. How much of the project can come off the shelf? How much needs to be designed from the ground up?
Early prototyping and usability
Once we’ve worked together on the concept and feasibility, it’s time to get your hands on a prototype. This phase of development will help solidify your ideas and show you the good, the bad, and (maybe) the ugly. The early prototype phase is a good time to change direction if something isn’t working or even just to tweak ideas that will strengthen the product.
The goal of the early prototype is to get something working as quickly and cheaply as possible to answer the big questions before committing significant development resources to the project.
Now that your product definition is set, it’s time to make it real. This is the phase where 90% of the work is done, turning a set of requirements and one-off prototypes into a real, usable, real-world product. At this point we develop the schematic designs, create printed circuit board artwork, and write the firmware.
Depending on the complexity of the project, this stage will involve one or more production prototypes for user testing, compliance testing, and manufacturing validation. Depending on customer needs and goals, this generally includes a pilot run of 10 to 100 units. This is the point where any surprises can be discovered and addressed while the documentation is finalized and prepared for production. The validation stage gives you the peace of mind that the decision to commit the money and resources to production is sound.
When planning production, the biggest question is usually “foreign or domestic?” Depending on production volumes and requirements, the answer can be surprising. We can help guide you on these issues as you select a manufacturing partner, and serve as a point of contact for answering technical questions that will come up during the quoting process.
At this stage, critical decisions must also be made about how and when firmware will be loaded into the product and whether serialization and auditability is important for your process. These are also questions that can be evaluated and addressed, so that they can be incorporated into the quoting process.
Whether manufacturing is completed abroad or domestically, we are available to provide responsive consultation and support to the factory for part substitution or other design questions that may arise and provide recommendations on solutions and remedies. These questions are often time-sensitive, since production runs happen very quickly after setup is complete. Standing issues and unanswered questions cost everyone more money.
Post-production / maintenance
When your product is built and on the store shelf, it is a great time to take a breath and send congratulations all around. But while the pace for engineering slows down at this point, it never totally stops: at this stage of the process we are available to consult on field issues and troubleshooting for any problems that may come up later on in the product cycle. We can help you determine the best and most cost effective corrective action, and issue Engineering Change Orders (ECOs) to the factory to prevent future recurrence.
Whether you are in the beginning stages of product development, you already have a prototype or a complete and clear vision of your product, or you’re down the road and manufacturing is imminent, Hooper Engineering can help you at any step of the process.