As a design company we are well aware that Industrial design and engineering services have been greatly devalued for a number of years. Affordable CAD software has certainly been the main driver as well as the growing availability of cheap 3D printers. These resources have empowered many new designers and inventors, which in itself is not a bad thing. But CAD software and 3D printers are both tools. Tools most efficiently used by experienced users who understand how to design products and part assemblies ready for manufacture. That is not to say that great strides can’t be made along the development path, but at times allot of this work can be overdone and in some cases will ultimately need to be re-thought to enable efficient manufacture and assembly. If a new product design needs to be ready within a fixed timescale, price and production ready then I believe getting an experienced industrial design company involved as early as possible will almost certainly save time and money in the long run.
Another challenge faced by UK design companies are other perceived cheaper CAD services from over seas. For certain projects in certain circumstances this may be an option, but I say perceived cheaper CAD services because many UK design companies, TQ included, can now compete with these companies and will usually offer a more comprehensive service, e.g. being able to easily meet up and discuss key design issues that might cause delay otherwise. With that in mind we would urge UK SME’s to discuss their new product design requirements with UK design companies along with other perceived cheaper options. I know at TQ we believe in agreeing a fixed price for each stage of a project which in our experience means that each stage is finished on time and with no extra costs incurred. Overseas hourly rates might seem cost effective but don’t always define milestones and can drive the project off track missing important deadlines.