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Benefits of working closely with a manufacturer
As a company we have over 25 years’ experience within our sector, and during this time we have worked with many companies on a wide range of solutions. Because of this, we have had the pleasure to work with a variety of different retailers and design agencies to produce the desired end product.
From working with different organisations, we have come across many different approaches and workflows to fabrication. We can understand that there can be an obvious void between the creative process and the delivery of a project; it is usually the work method that agencies do the creative work, and then designers have to face the problem of manufacturing the solution!
So this raises the question, why wait until the end to include the manufacturer? As manufacturers we can help facilitate the transition from the initial seed of the idea all the way through to the fabrication, this is not to say we don’t think everyone is capable and need pointing in the right direction). We can simply be involved as a shoulder of support to give you our perspective should you feel you need it and identify possible stumbling blocks before they occur.
The most frequent chain of events from clients brief to installation involves the client’s brief being given to a design agency who will then work up the concept, design development to generate a complete drawing package. This is then sent back to the client who (if agrees) will then appoint a contractor who can do the job (who in turn appoint a supplier for the goods) and then it is finally, installed. Therefore as a company we only find out about the entire process once a contractor appoints us to complete the work.
We can empathise with the designers and understand that their initial and primary concerns are all about coming up with a concept that is functional, looks amazing and conveys the client’s brand. We know ‘how will this be manufactured’ will not be a factor that is considered. So including the manufacturer earlier in the process gives a better awareness as to how something is made and more importantly could you design this to be manufactured more cost-effectively? The relationship will increase the design agencies depth of knowledge and add significant value into their offering.
Our perfect situation would be to engage with the design agency once they have worked up an initial concept for the project. They will at this point have an idea of direction they are going in and are beginning to look at what products they need to make, we can then see the full design intention and if needed offer some advice as to what is possible and what may need adapting to make possible for fabrication. At Unibox we are confident in our staff as we have personnel with the experience to help.
Then as designs are developing we can work out how we will go about manufacturing it and what materials would work from both a design and manufacturing point of view. This early inclusion gives us the chance to:
- Start working on creating samples
- Look into the details so that any potential issues can be ironed out early.
- Eliminate potential delays in production
- Help deliver the project on schedule
Working with the manufacturer from the beginning makes it more likely to design a project on budget therefore making the solution more profitable for the client, as to make a design and then ask for a price can sometimes leave you wildly over. Once the we have worked through all this together, the design agency can be confident in proposing a very comprehensive solution giving details on; How the product will be made, how much it will cost, exactly what it will look like and who can make it. This then leaves no room for doubt in the client’s eyes and makes it much easier to sell in.
This simple change to the workflow ethic therefore shows distinct benefits to all parties included. At Unibox we can and will work to any companies preferred workflow process but this should be considered as an improved option.