Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan once said “Talent wins games, but teams win championships.” This statement was not mere humility. As dominant as Air Jordan was on the court, he would not have won 6 NBA Championship rings without the other stars around him.

This is also very true when it comes to building successful products. You can’t do it alone, so communicating efficiently and effectively with your internal and external partners is vital to getting everything right.

Overseas manufacturing drastically increases the importance and complexity of your communication because of different time zones and cross-cultural nuances. Here are a few ways to ensure that everyone is always on the same page:

  1. Ensure that you listen to all stakeholders at the start of the project and get all approvals needed upfront. Establish who needs to be involved in design reviews and in making final product decisions.
  2. Develop personal relationships with everyone who has an impact on your product’s success, especially manufacturing. The more complex the manufacturing, the more important these relationships will get. Face-to-face meetings are the best way to build effective relationships versus relying on web conferences or email. Devote the time, money and effort to travel to facilitate in-person meetings. Better relationships ultimately result in better products.
  3. Making sure everyone is on the same page needs to be a continuous undertaking and not something you do just at the start of your project. It is better to over-communicate than to assume everyone understands the details.
  4. Make sure your design tools allow you to easily communicate changes and ensure that everyone is working on the same version of the design.
  5. If English is not the first language of your overseas partners, make sure you have an onsite liaison who is fluent in both languages. But even in this case, use simple words when communicating in English. It’s better to rely on more visuals and fewer words. Dealing with a language barrier requires extra effort and you should plan for the extra time this will take when creating project timelines.

Of course, the above best practices represent only a small fraction of what you should be doing before you even log into your CAD platform.

To make your design journey easier, Onshape’s latest eBook provides a must-have checklist for you to pressure-test your ideas. The “10 Design Questions That Can Make or Break a New Consumer Product” come from mid-career engineers and designers who graciously shared their decades of product development experience. Their companies specialize in a wide range of products, including: acoustic equipment, home furnishings, baby products, athletic gear, power tools, farming equipment, FM radios, and bicycles.

Despite the diverse focus of these successful companies, it’s remarkable how much their product design and development processes share in common. Their hard-learned lessons can now benefit you, potentially saving your company time, money and frustration.

Download your copy of “10 Design Questions That Can Make or Break a New Consumer Product” today!