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Speed up you Product Development Process

Your Problems, Our Solutions

Companies that are looking to improve the speed of their development process are typically coming to us because they are:

  • Frustrated with design and prototype development that takes too long
  • Working with an individual or “Lone Wolf” approach that is inefficient
  • Frustrated about poor communications slowing down the process

Creative Mechanisms Solutions

  • Philosophy and structure built around collaboration - many smart people with different perspectives working to solve your problem at the same time, so ideation and iteration happen more quickly.
  • We consider many solutions offered by a diverse group of experts and quickly choose or “down select” the best ones
  • Our experience in the product “fashion industry” (completely new product lines ever year) means we’re used to short development timeframes. Speed is in our DNA
  • Real-time Basecamp updates reduce delays and miscommunication

Creative Mechanisms has been in business since 1985.  Many of our clients in those early years were in the Toy and Collectible industries.  We refer to these industries as fashion industries because they have to come up with a completely new line of products every year. When you are under that kind of pressure you must learn to work fast.  There was never any time to waste.  You were usually late before you even got started. This high pressure, tight deadline job environment shaped the culture of our company. We learned to thrive on the pressure.  We sometimes struggled with a client in a different industry that was not in a hurry.

Those fashion industry days are behind us and we work with clients who have many different development schedules. We have become much more flexible adapting to our clients varied timelines. Though the need to react fast and get things done quickly has remained a part of this company still. Momentum is a real thing. When the ideas are fresh and being discussed and the job is progressing it is a dynamic situation that can build steam and move faster as it goes forward. If that job stops for a week waiting for something that momentum gets lost and it takes time to get back up to speed again. That time is lost time.  We hate lost time. Therefore, we do everything we can to keep communication flowing, keep the ideas percolating and partner with our customers to keep that momentum growing and not slowing. Communication is a big part of keeping things moving. There is always a back and forth with questions and ideas.  The speed in which those questions are asked, and the answers are provided have a huge impact on the speed of product development. We do everything in our power to keep the communication time as efficient as possible.

Teamwork is another big factor in keeping a project moving quickly.  We know that 4 heads are better than one.  We also know that when those same 4 extremely bright heads have a powerful system for quickly brainstorming and communicating the ideas, efficiencies and quality of product is all greatly improved.  Increasing the speed of development should never be a sacrifice in quality of product. We focus on doing everything we can do to increase speed and improve the quality of product in the process.

Speed to market is more important now than ever. Technology compresses time frames. Imitation may be the best form of flattery but in the consumer product business it is called a knock off and they come quick, especially if something is a success.  The sooner you get something to market the more time you can expect to own that category. That gives you time to be developing the second version while your competitors are playing catch up.  Developing product fast helps you stay ahead of your competition. We help you develop products faster.

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Learn how we Speed your development process

HubSpot Video

Doug Powell

VP, Global Product/Technical Services

Tony's company provided us with creative solutions to design problems on several new products. He and his team worked collaboratively with our team, designing, iterating, and prototyping to deliver on time, and on budget, the contracted work. Tony has a deep understanding of injection molded tooling and works to ensure the designs can be made successfully. Our company has worked with many design houses. Tony and his team equal any of these in terms of knowledge, speed and creative results.

Read Blogs on Development Speed

Speed Of Development FAQ's

Many customers come to us with accelerated project deadlines as well as an overall desire for help in shortening the time it takes to develop a product in general. Speed is critical in product development. Every hour removed from a project helps both shorten the lead time and lower the development cost. Of the many ways to facilitate speed in the development process, my experience shows that physical layout of the product development shop as one of the most productive. A facility’s layout can either hinder or help the team’s speed. Read more about our structure for collaboration here.

We approach most projects in a similar manner. This process is designed for both speed and innovation through collaboration. Everyone touts collaboration as a key to success; however, it’s how we collaborate that accelerates development timelines and yields greater innovation. Following is a standard brainstorming-through-prototyping process:

  • Group introduction, discussion, and brainstorming of design challenge, potential solutions, and improvements
  • Individual research and brainstorming of solutions
  • Group internal review and refinement of individual’s solutions
  • Compilation of leading solutions for presentation to client
  • Meeting with client (video or in-person conference), review of solutions, and incorporation of feedback into files
  • Creation of 3-D CAD files, with an emphasis on engineering for manufacturing
  • Presentation of engineered 3-D CAD files to client
  • Prototype creation and function testing of the desired mechanisms based on 3-D CAD files
  • Iteration of 3-D CAD, based on function tests and/or client evaluation
  • Prototyping of the revised 3-D CAD geometry
  • Sharing of prototype and 3-D CAD with manufacturing source.

Since every project is different, the time needed to complete each project differs as well. Although we have worked on and off some projects for years, most take a few months. Some take only a few weeks. Here is a typical timeline for a project:

  • Concept Brainstorming (2-3 weeks)
  • Engineering (2-3 weeks)
  • First Prototype (1-2 weeks)
  • Engineering Revisions (2-3 days)
  • Revised Prototype (1-2 weeks)

Many companies in the product development business try to be all things to all people by offering a broad range of services: they generalize. We have chosen to narrow our focus: we specialize. We are mechanism experts. We define a mechanism as anything with a moving part. It can be as simple as a living hinge or as complex as a robot. We also help companies take their product development to the next level in three main areas. We work with companies trying to speed up their product development process either to get product to market faster or get more products developed per year. We help companies increase their innovation by developing more innovative product concepts and mechanisms or by innovative engineering that improves the user experience or lowers cost. Lastly, we help companies improve their product turnover to manufacturing by providing better engineering for manufacturing. Our focus in these areas allows us to specialize in next level product development.

  • Identification of the root cause(s) of problem areas
  • Solving the most important challenge with a simple and elegant solution, and allowing that simplicity to propagate downstream to other challenges
  • Implementation Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) from the start
  • Involving our entire team from project beginning and collaborating throughout the project to deliver team-driven innovation
  • Using mathematics, science, and engineering principles to guide our product development process
  • Looking at other products from other industries for inspiration.