Having looked at many organizational charts over the years, we rarely see one where Research and Development (R&D) falls under Manufacturing. Even with small start-ups, where teams wear many hats, Manufacturing usually falls under R&D, not the other way around. So, if R&D doesn’t report to Manufacturing internally, why would an outsourced R&D project leverage a contract manufacturer as the primary partner?
It’s the way it’s always been
When a company decides to outsource, they typically choose from two options, using industrial designers or contract manufacturers. Both offer compelling stories and claim strong value propositions with comprehensive capabilities. Contract manufacturers are often selected to provide all the services in the project based on those claims. Once the project starts, reality is much different.
Manufacturing Engineers Have a Different Set of Skills
A simple online search of Manufacturing Engineer job descriptions reveals responsibilities that include, “Develop(ing) and improve(ing) manufacturing processes by studying product and manufacturing methods.” 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
A similar online search for Research and Development Engineers shows a very different set of skills. According to job descriptions, “Research and development (R&D) engineers are responsible for designing and developing new technology-based products, services and processes. 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.
Don’t Create a Confusing Org Chart
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 a manufacturing-focused organization for outsourced development?
Complex Projects call for the Right Expertise
If the project has a simple design with minimal hardware, the manufacturing engineers employed by contract manufacturers may be able to complete it. Once custom hardware, software, embedded technology, and vision become part of the project, the contract manufacturer will realize they do not have the R&D engineering skills listed above and will either struggle to do the work or outsource to product development experts.
Consider Another Option
Businesses know that Manufacturing is not R&D and look to R&D focused partners like Resolution to act as the primary player on the development project. Resolution takes the time to understand the project and assembles the right team to complete it 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.
To learn more about the benefits of boutique outsourced product development services and their partner ecosystem, contact Resolution Developoment