Business Solutions Through Engineering Design
In how many ways can your company benefit from improvements by design? It’s not a rhetorical question. Engineering design precipitates so many areas, and a design touch may well increase your profitability. Maybe drastically! Now that’s business solutions.
Often the word “Design” is interpreted as “Art” or “Style”. We certainly like to put Style with Function, but in context of “Engineering Design” we’re talking about much more than the artistic side of design. For this article, we’re referring to the redesign or creation of new products.
Let’s look at 3 industry sectors with some examples of success. Some of these are not so obvious. Maybe your great idea will be next.
Service Sector Company Example
Our first case study comes from a solo-preneur in Colorado working as a janitor. This gentleman makes a modest living keeping things clean, and he takes great pride in spotless floors. You could say floors are his passion. Parts of the job are difficult, and require less than pleasant chemicals to do a good job.
For one particular job, he found that tedious hand work with a special fabric in a certain orientation drastically decreased the work. Eureka! Then, he thought, but how can I make it to work like this all the time? So, he went to work figuring it out.
Engineering design to the rescue. A fairly simple tool was designed to hold the materials properly, and easily change them when needed. With a crude prototype made, the theory was tested. The next generation prototype brought a better design and his task then became both easier and faster.
His next step is bringing the tool to market.
Editor’s Note: I would love to show you this tool, and explain the details, but we always honor intellectual property. Yours and everyone else’s. I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait for it to come to market.
The Point: Just looking at the things you do, and the tricks you use are often inspiration enough. While some new products are epic, most start as simple ideas that expand with engineering design into new business solutions.
A Construction Sector Example
One company owner turned our engineering design focus toward construction waste. Because of the nature of their work, waste removal takes a disproportionate amount of their time and effort. They provide a tear-off and replace service, and handling the volume waste is cumbersome.
One day he realized that the size and waste volume that they haul is mostly air. The waste does not stack well, which makes it inefficient. For them (and all the others in their industry segment) it means lots of trash runs.
The solution? A custom machine. A pretty simple machine to make the waste comply. This is to help the team save many man-hours with each job. They also save in time and fuel because they no longer take partly full trucks to the dump.
(Again, I’m sorry about the lack of detail. Since this is innovation for their competitive advantage, we respect it, and keep it under wraps. — And yes, the image is misleading. Sorry.)
The Point: Insight often comes just by watching what you spend your time on. While the new business solutions save a ton of money, it would not happen without a step back to see.
Engineering Design In A Product Sector
We have many examples in this category with articles already written. One example is the Case Study on Bicycle Chainrings which emphasizes the integration of new technology into several new products. Some of those ideas are from the customer, some from our engineering design.
Another great example is this Case Study of Custom Trailer Design. The focus is on meeting some very specific, maybe extreme and conflicting constraints. Although this trailer looks normal, it has several functions that similar low trailers can’t do. Interestingly, you don’t see the uniqueness from the outside.
Finally, the Case Study on License Plate Frames where the focus is artistic presentation within legal and manufacturing constraints.
The Point: While all these are engineering design improvements, the studies each give a different perspective. Functional engineering development is the focus with the bicycle components, while artistic presentation is key with license plate frames. Trailers require structural and function engineering design. Because these are all product sector design, they have similarities, yet each with a different focus.
By the way, we have examples in pictures at our presentation site big slide show. Please visit. Oh, it works best at full screen.
Where Can Your Company Benefit With Engineering Design?
In all of the above examples, the customer benefits with the business solutions. For some it’s in efficiency for doing their work, while for others the benefit is new things to sell. For these companies, improvements came by design. In some situations they sought the solution, and in others, the solution came because they took a step back. How about for you?
Business solutions don’t usually happen by accident, so let’s take a look. You may have ideas already – but perhaps don’t know how to implement them. Or, the driver may be one of your employees. Almost all businesses have something to help them improve, so start looking. We are ready to help with the great ideas when they come.
The Point: Innovation is a great tool for building a company. We think it’s a Better Strategy . So, if you’re up for success, let’s talk about it. Let’s see if your ideas have a clear path forward.