How to Increase Your Design Capacity

Previously we discussed the case for offsite component design in 2019. Today I want to expand further on the benefit of expanding your capacity.

I find engine capacity as a useful analogy to design capacity as both an engine and a design team operate under various inputs, forces, and stresses. When you are driving on the interstate, say 70 MPH, what does the “RPM” show? Typically 2500 more or less. The RPM helps you understand your engine’s capacity, not only for speed but also for hauling loads. When you hook up a trailer and drive at the same speed your RPM goes up to 3000 or so. As the speed or the load increases, the RPM needle will head towards the “red”. All this tells you how hard the engine is working.

Demand will test the capacity of the engine. Does the engine start to overheat? Does it shutter or hesitate? Can the vehicle handle the stresses being placed on it?

The type and size of the engine will determine whether or not it can handle high speeds and heavy loads. My Isuzu Trooper would probably be running at 5000 RPM and be threatening to rattle apart if I got up to 90 MPH. A Dodge Charger on the other hand, well, it would be just settling in.

To put it in simplistic terms (because that is the level of my engine knowledge), the size and efficiency of the engine determines its capacity. All of the conditions could be the same, driving down the road at 70 MPH, hauling a trailer with 5000# in it, vehicle A is redlining at 100% capacity and cannot sustain the speed or the load. Vehicle B is operating at 70% capacity, it feels the speed and the load but it is more comfortable with it. The difference? Vehicle A is a 4-cylinder. Vehicle B is a V8.

The Redlining Design Staff

Almost every design staff out there is operating “in the red” with more on their plate then they can easily handle and more being added every day. Bids need to go out to leads because that represents revenue next month or next year, but final designs need to be completed so that the shop can build those jobs already sold. Architects, engineers, and your salespeople are all asking for their designs yesterday and there seems to be no getting caught up.

This is your RPM needle telling you how hard the engine is working. It is working very hard. But, you know if you keep running your design staff this hard you are going to have burnout, fatigue, mistakes, loss of revenue, etc.  So, what is to be done?

Upgrade Your Engine – Let’s Add Some Horsepower!

To continue the metaphor, your design staff needs an engine upgrade. This doesn’t mean replacing them, goodness knows you need them! What options do you have then? Hire more staff? The problem with that is that you don’t always need that additional capacity. Those slow months mean you would most likely be laying folks off. Only to be trying to hire again as demand increases. Is there a better option?

I know you didn’t see this coming but… the best way I can think of for you to upgrade your engine is to contract with an offsite design service, like ours, and build in that extra capacity. If you need us twelve months out of the year, great! If not, we are here when you need us, ready to increase your design capacity so you have fewer bids walking out the door to your competitor and more jobs are being designed for the shop to build!

Recently, we discussed our setup fees and design pricing. As you will see it pays to be proactive. Think about it this way. Do you install a new engine right at the moment that you need to press hard on the accelerator? Of course not! No, you get that engine replaced prior to the anticipated demand so that you have the capacity, you’ve worked out the kinks, and you are ready to put the pedal to the metal when the time comes!

Be proactive. Reach out and schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with us today!