The Key to Protecting your Product Design Knowledge Base
With mergers, acquisitions, regulatory changes and re-orgs, one of the unexpected benefits to leveraging an outside product design firm can be consistency. This is not always the case of course. Some contract engineering firms are a revolving door of talent. If you pick up a project months, nevermind years down the road, you won’t access the original talent base. However, Venture clients have come to rely upon them as the safe deposit box of their knowledge base for certain products and projects.
Imagine needing to add new features to a product years after its last round of design changes. At some firms, the management has changed over and/or a new team is in place. In instances like this, Venture plays the role of company technology guru, and can pick up where they left off, and update new players on the client side as needed.
Engineers as Project Managers – a Key Difference
According to Chase Sebor, one of Venture’s founders, “Our approach is to have our employees be the project managers. The differentiator is that they are systems engineers. We fully document the process, and that knowledge base is available long-term to the customer. They are there down the road more commonly than the client’s staff will be. It’s not unusual for us to play a supporting role 3-5 years down the road.”
For reasons of changing staff or for multiple product derivatives, customers come back for resends of original product documentation. According to Chase, “I think one of them is up to 8 times now.”
Clients Choose their Preferred Tools
Venture works in common engineering tools such as SolidWorks and MSProject – but they morph the end result to the file format the customer needs. Sebor adds, “Our expertise is not on the tool alone, it’s on the engineering discipline. It’s in everyone’s best interest to do this. If your staff can’t own the work we do for you, we’re never coming in again. My equity is the relationship, we don’t own the product, the client does. When we make the client successful we all win.”
For example, Venture designed an ozone measurement device decades ago. They helped the client hire so they could continue to support that design on their own. Years later Venture leveraged the original design to extend the client’s market by designing an ozone generator. The relationship has spanned over 20 years.