When to Select Product Design and Engineering Services

by Yvonne Ng


mgypAxg - engineering drawing

photo by sanja gjenero, via rgbstock.com


This is the first in a series about selecting product design and engineering services.

Who needs product design services? 

Start-up companies or companies ready to refresh their product lines: They need a solid product design that will quickly go to manufacturing, and they don’t have the time or skills to design it themselves. Every product needs to be meticulously designed and documented before it can be manufactured.  If a product is not carefully designed, there will be no end to manufacturing problems and customer complaints.  In a worst case situation, it could mean a failed product that is pulled from the shelves due to lack of sales or recalled because it is dangerous.  Let’s think more positively.

Often large companies have internal engineering resources and have no need to use external resources.  However, there are times that larger companies may seek external engineering resources: They may not have the specific skill set internally.  Or, they may have an overflow situation and don’t want to hire a new employee only to have the work dry up. This is where Pongratz Engineering can be of service.

When is it a good time to involve a product development firm?

As far upstream of the product development process as possible:  At Pongratz Engineering we are accustomed to working from concept through production, and the best results are achieved when complete involvement occurs early on.  If the engineering resource is a part of writing the initial product specifications, the train is already being placed correctly on the tracks and starting to roll in the right direction.

For a company or an individual that has never employed a product design firm, it can be a daunting task to pick one that is best suited for their needs.  Like cars, restaurants, or clothes, not all firms are equal and not optimized for all situations.  Some are specialized for a particular market such as aerospace, automotive, medical, or consumer products, for example.

The size of the firm is important to consider as well.  Larger firms usually charge a higher hourly rate, primarily because of overhead and the accumulated years of experience of their employees.  Larger companies typically like to work with large design firms because they operate similarly and “speak the same language.”  However, smaller product design firms can often be more responsive, give more personal attention, operate at a lower cost, and run faster.  When evaluating a design company, the right balance between experience, responsiveness, and cost should be found.  Try to find out the company’s blend before signing them up to make sure it meets your needs.

Pongratz Engineering is a complete product design and development company.  We service industries that require precision and/or aesthetic consideration such as: Medical, Consumer, Industrial, and Outdoor Sporting/Shooting/Accessories.  We have years of experience with plastic molded products as well as machined and sheet metal ones. With this range of experience, our goal for any project is to meet the customer’s needs and create a design that meets or exceeds product specifications and cost requirements. 

Do you have questions about using external engineering resources?    Contact us, email (info@pongratzengineering.com), or call (612-384-0122) for more information.