Bandwidth Constraints: it is one of the most familiar and frustrating terms for managers and engineers during the product design process. Management is trying to run a profitable business and asks employees to be increasingly creative to use resources and time available to execute all project tasks. It is a delicate balance, and if it tips too far, the project timeline is the area usually most impacted. The employees do the best they can, but what can a company do if the constraints on the working level are causing consistent delays to timing in the product development process? To address bandwidth-related delays, the company must first examine the causes of bandwidth squeeze.
Causes of and Responses to Bandwidth Constraints in the Product Development Process
During positive business climates, an influx of new business may disrupt the existing overhead framework and quoted timelines. Innovative, new products may garner new orders from some customers, while others are slower to adopt new technology and want to continue with legacy product.
Industries respond to bandwidth constraints differently. For example, the medical industry may require emergency support to get them through a crisis, while aerospace may need to augment its internal team for part of a key product development task. Either of these circumstances may lead management to seek ways to alleviate bandwidth constraints in the product development process. Instead of adding additional full-time personnel, they can leverage an external partner with mature processes to quickly begin adding value to the development process and offloading the internal project resources. Syncroness implements an Agile project management approach, which employs rapid communication and issues resolution to expedite project timing without sacrificing product quality. We proactively encourage internal and external team members to collaborate, without delay, throughout the product design process.
Disciplines Enhanced by External Partners
Partnering with an external team with specific expertise in a company’s industry (or one similar) can also help reduce the learning curve required to onboard them to the project. This point is especially true with highly regulated industries, as the methodology of navigating regulations is very similar. Working with a partner that can integrate regulatory compliance into R&D helps smoothly bridge the gap between the two; it is important for regulations not to stifle innovation.
With the increased amount of multidisciplinary applications fueled by the current innovation boom, a partner with process expertise in integrating development across disciplines can also quickly add value. This cultivated proficiency significantly reduces the number of design iterations and cycle times needed to develop a complex product, while exposing the customer to industry best practices, techniques, and tips.
Another type of company that benefits from the right external design partner is one that is sensitive to IP. Syncroness acts as a consultant, focusing on project results and product success, not on generating IP. This approach ensures the motivation of the partner is aligned, and that the collective project team can focus only on executing the project.
Bandwidth constraints extend project timelines, as shifting priorities and design modifications add start-stop cycles to development. They also add unnecessary stress to the internal product development team. Hiring more full-time equivalents may not be sustainable, as the ebb and flow of project work may quickly lead to excessive SG&A after the initial project is complete.
The most efficient (and effective) solution is to employ an external partner with expertise, process, and demonstrated success in executing the immediate task.