Partnering the Right Design House
In the changing business environment with global competition and fast growing economies, it is important to identify the right Design Services Company for any product design. It is not only identifying the right partner but also to find a long term partner.
Company Identification: Identify company partner level with silicon Vendor at what stage they were ranked. Entry level partner status is very easy for all companies. But getting in to the next level will have lot of process and design wins help companies to move further in the partner status. It is also better to check whether the company work with other major silicon vendors like TI, Intel, Marvell, Xilinx, Altera, etc. It is very mandatory to ask a design house how much percentage of amount they invest every year towards the R&D for the new design and technology update.
Domain Expertise: Check for their domain experience and ask for the proven success stories/cases studies in similar domains like Medical, Consumer Electronics, Industrial Automation & Automotive. This information will give more confidence towards the design house.
Products: Also check the variants products they have listed in the website have a better understanding on line of products. For example i.MX6 processor series have different variants like Quad/Dual/DualLite/Solo/UltraLite. Many companies will not have all variants. Because while selecting a module you might have fixed Dual core but at the end of the day if your product need Quad means it is easy to change the module if the company have all the variants in their products. Also check what are the other products they have designed for other chipset vendors like TI, Altera, Marvell, Intel, etc this will give better picture that the company expertise in Hardware.
Reference Platform: Also check for the Reference kit features and the list of documents available design materials such as detailed datasheet, schematics files of the board from the vendor would be useful, especially while designing a custom board by using their design. Some Vendors launch community boards, wherein you need to depend on the community for the any support and upgrade. Also, check for the manufacturing eco system support.
Software Expertise: No software is bug free or perfect and it needs more improvements due to more expectations. It is better to have check on how the company can share the source code, whether it is through License or NDA. Check whether the BSP supported by company is the latest one for all the boards/modules they are supporting. This will give a complete idea on their software expertise. Also check other than WinCE, Linux & Android do they have expertise in other OS like VxWorks, iTron, etc this will give more confidence towards their software expertise.
Quality: Check for the QMS process they follow for the design and development. Ask for the document of the same. Find out the experiences in the certification for the designed products like, EMI/EMC, CE, FCC, ROHS compliance. Also make sure the company is an ISO certified because this will give more confidence while we go for the production.
Business Models: While choosing, ask for the company’s business models. Check whether they are open for Turnkey services & manufacturing services, Time & Material, Onsite & Offshore development.
Business Development Manager