Is it challenging to bring your products into the market on schedule with appropriate requirements? Whether it be fast entry into the market, or by predictive schedule, Epec is bringing you the solution.

Based on my own experience, taking shortcuts in the idea and research phase (image above) causes delays in the development phase, which in turn delays the market launch. In a worst-case scenario, keeping to schedule may mean sacrificing innovative new features or cancelling the market launch altogether. In the design phase, properly designed and high quality requirements help lead a project to successful results. High quality preliminary design also brings significant cost savings because changes towards the end of development are minimized.

Last winter, we started developing a preliminary design service concept using the Design thinking process. The purpose of the preliminary design service is to gather all project related information before the beginning of the project’s development phase, to avoid possible surprises in the project’s final stages.

First, we collected the most common challenges in control system projects from Epec’s point of view. After this, we organized a workshop day for some of our clients. The main objective for the workshop was to survey the challenges that they faced in their projects. The day started by mapping out customers’ challenges and problems in designing control systems, for example:

  • What kind of issues are difficult to resolve?
  • What challenges cause delays in the product development?
  • What challenges increases costs in the product development?
  • What causes loss of quality in the control system?

After identifying the different challenges and problems, we sorted and combined them into appropriate categories with assigned headers. The categories were then scored and leading design drivers were selected based on the given points. The following topics were selected as design drivers:

  1. Well-designed is half made
    • A design driver emphasized strongly in the preliminary design.
  2. What goes around comes around
    • This design driver is associated with testing. The challenge is the insufficiency of testing and the lack of proper testing tools.
  3. Transparency of project information
    • A design driver for communications. The challenge is the flow of information between different stakeholders.
  4. Respect of professional skills
    • The lack of resources, as well as the persistence and flexibility of resources is perceived as a challenge in this design driver.

Design drivers were thoroughly thought out and we concentrated on bringing new ideas and solutions to the recognized challenges in control system projects.  There were a lot of good suggestions for design drivers, which we are glad to include as we compile our preliminary design package. It was interesting to notice that both small and large companies have the same challenges. This Autumn, we will continue to review proposals and this upcoming winter the preliminary design service will be piloted with one of our customers. Could it be your company?

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