It’s common for us to meet with companies who have engaged a contract manufacturer to perform outsourced product development work on their complex project. The contract manufacturer was unable to deliver the R&D services needed, and we come in to get the project back on track. But, we wonder, if the R&D organization doesn’t report to manufacturing internally, why is R&D choosing contract manufacturers to do their development work?
There are usually two options that companies choose from when deciding to outsource. They could use an industrial design firm or contract manufacturer. Both offer strong value propositions and claim comprehensive capabilities. Most often contract manufacturers are selected to provide all the services in the project based on those claims. Once the project starts, the reality is much different.
Manufacturing Engineers Have a Different Set of Skills
Contract manufacturers will staff their development project with manufacturing engineers. A manufacturing engineer’s role is to find new efficiencies in manufacturing practices. The engineer works on evaluating and creating new methods to test manufacturing processes. In addition, equipment operation is part of the manufacturing engineer’s responsibilities. These are not skills needed for an R&D project.
R&D Engineers are not Manufacturing Engineers
R&D projects need R&D Engineers. They are tasked with assessing and improving the capacities of new processes and measuring their performance. They innovate and create products in compliance with environmental standards and seek to optimize sites by reducing production costs.”
R&D Engineers are focused on activities such as
- Translating functional needs into specifications.
- Designing or developing a product service, or process.
- Testing and validating the product.
- Supporting production start-up or product launch.
All Engineers are not Equal
Companies are typically structured with an R&D team that is distinct from Manufacturing because Manufacturing lacks the subject matter proficiency to do R&D engineering work and vice versa. So, why would a project use manufacturing engineers when development engineers are needed?
Start the Project on with the Right Team
Businesses that look to R&D focused partners like Resolution to act as the primary player on the development project are better positioned for success. Resolution takes the time to understand the project and assembles the right team to complete the project correctly the first time, saving time, money and resources. Because each development project is different and requires different expertise, Resolution brings the right skills and partners at the right point in the project to ensure success.