Choosing the right product development partner – Haltian Startup Videos part 4

New product development partners meeting

In the final part of Haltian Startup Videos mini-series Pasi Pentinpuro, Haltian VP of Product Development Services, and Paulo Lopes, Senior Marketing Manager, discuss the most important things startups should consider when choosing a product development partner.

What should startups consider when looking at different product development partners?

Pasi says that the first thing companies should do, is to make sure that the company is very good in co-operation. “You will be working very closely with your partner, so it’s important that they are open, willing to communicate at all levels, and that you can, for example, contact their engineers directly,” he comments. Another important aspect is finding out about the culture of the company, Pasi says. “Open communication and transparency make things a lot easier. At Haltian we like to say that we work with the company, not for the company.”

While working closely together with your R&D partner might sound like an obvious thing, according to Pasi, it is not. Some companies subcontract a lot of the work, so the customer won’t always know the people actually working on their project. This makes communication between the customer and the product development partner a lot harder, Pasi explains.

Choose a partner that can take you product all the way to mass production

Another important thing to consider when choosing a product development partner is finding out if the company has the needed competencies to do all the product development stages form start to finish: “If you select a company that can only do, let’s say, the concept stage, you’ll be faced with the selection of your next partner in a very short time.” Pasi says. It’s much easier and less time consuming to work with just one partner, instead of many different ones.

Experience and customer references are important

One of the first things people look at when they consider any kind of services, are the past customer references. To this, Pasi would like to add that it’s also important to check that the potential product development partner has experience with similar kinds of products that you’re hoping to create. “If you’re looking to make a wireless device, you want to make sure your partner has some experience with wireless devices.”

Pricing

While pricing is always an important factor to any startup, Pasi says that looking at only hourly or daily rates might not be the best idea, since more experienced engineers tend to cost more. What Pasi advises to look at, is the total cost of the project: “if you select the cheapest option it might take a lot longer and end up costing you a lot more,” he comments. In addition, sailing with multiple partners usually stacks up additional costs due to a lack of communication between the different parties.

With product development partners, it all comes down to trust

You’re putting a lot of your time and money into selecting the right partner. So, at the end of the day, it really comes down to trust: Pasi’s advice is to think who can you trust the most with your product.

Watch more Haltian Startup videos:

  • Part 1: Getting Started. Type approvals, market areas, production, business model and additional costs… There are so many things startups need to think about in the first stages of their journey in making a new product.
  • Part 2: Building your team. What kind of skills does a startup need in the beginning of their journey, and who should you hire as a part of your company and what skills are best to subcontract?
  • Part 3: How to get funding? What things startups need to consider when they start thinking about funding their product development and design process?