OPD

Lessons from the New World of Outsourcing

As global businesses look to bridge the gap between traditional and modern enterprise operations, experimentation around new features, tools and technologies have become increasingly important. To speed up the developmental process, leading organizations are channeling their IT resources to bring forth a right approach between teams and managers. While in the product development and engineering sector, the push to discover technical feasibility is finally being released through outsourcing. A West Michigan product design and engineering firms underlines the disciplines required to capitalize the benefits of outsourced work.

“Now manufacturers are realizing the market is asking for new product development, so we have many customers asking us to develop a new product, innovation process or market research to find new growth areas,” said Dayna Beal, chief marketing officer and vice president of product development at Zeeland-based Disher Design & Development.

“Manufacturers are willing to invest one or two million dollars in new product development, which has changed over the last two years,” he said. “(Before,) it was more focused on general engineering.”

A MiBiz report has recently published that Disher Design has won a $200,000 performance-based Michigan Business Development Program grant from the state to support its growth. Research and development expenses among large West Michigan manufacturers increased over the last year, according to a review of multiple public company filings. West Michigan manufacturers have increased R & D investments over the years to offer new capabilities, platforms and talents.

Herman Miller Inc, a Zeeland-based office furniture manufacture firm increased spending on research and new product design by approximately $3 million in the 2015 fiscal year, according to the company’s latest annual report. Meanwhile, auto supplier Gentex Corp. (Nasdaq: GNTX) in Zeeland increased its annual spending on engineering, research and development by approximately $4 million to $88.3 million in 2015, according to a federal securities filing.

Similar other manufacturing companies around West Michigan also intend to adapt to a new technical vision by making progress in the field of research & development.

“Engineering firms do better in uncertain times,” said Arnold of Broadview Product Development. “When the economy is improving but companies aren’t confident yet, we do well. When the economy is declining and there’s uncertainty, manufacturers outsource as well. When they’re stable, they’ll make the decision to add to their workforce for product design, rather than contracting.”