ESCO Engineers Follow Product Lifecycle From
Start to Finish
by Clinton Wood
October 3, 2018
As an engineer, it is uncommon to be
able to follow your product from inception to market delivery. At ESCO, we get
to see the entire product lifecycle of our designs, beginning with discussing a
customer need to product delivery and implementation. While not everyone may understand
the excitement in this process, it provides a unique opportunity for engineers
like myself to see the value of my work from start to finish.
I joined ESCO in 2007 and have held
various roles from Design Engineer to Process Engineer to Project Engineer. I
currently serve as a Team Lead for ESCO’s mining portfolio, working with other
engineers to develop and deliver new products to our customers. My role
involves facilitating communication between various departments to ensure a
thorough development process for each new product under the ESCO brand.
In order to do that, we use the DMEDI
(Define, Measure, Explore, Develop, Implement) process when developing our
In the first phase, Define, we collaborate
with our sales staff to evaluate a potential need in the field. Usually this need
comes from various customers who want a product that does something different
or better than what is available in the market today. We also identify other
customers who may have this need and get a full understanding of what their
problems are and what solutions we can provide. This helps determine the size
and scope of the project and the potential customer base.
Next, in the Measure phase, we take a
deeper dive and meet with a larger customer base to assess their needs. We also
dig into what current products exist that could potentially meet the customer
needs and document how they are performing in the market. The customer needs and
competitor analysis are then put into a House of Quality (HOQ), which is a tool
that helps us gauge how well existing products meet customer needs and identify
In the Explore phase, we begin to
generate concepts and brainstorm ideas that could potentially solve our
customers’ toughest challenges. We may start by designing and optimizing eight concepts
at once, but eventually we narrow the list down and take those concepts to make
mockups and prototypes so that we can test them in our lab.
I recently worked on a project where we worked
with our customers and secured real-world data to help determine the best
solution. Concepts are continuously tested against our HOQ to ensure we are
meeting or exceeding customer needs and bringing real value over what currently
exists in the market.
We then begin the Develop phase, where
we take everything we’ve learned from the Exploratory phase and analyze what
the customers liked from each previous concept. We take that feedback, optimize
the design and develop the final product. This phase involves validation
trials, meaning we find customers who are willing to provide feedback to
determine if additional changes are necessary prior to product launch.
The final phase in our product design is
Implementation. This is where we launch our marketing and sales campaign, and
push the new product into the market.
Because of ESCO’s renowned brand and
dedication to quality, our engineers can follow our products from start to
finish, including evaluating customer needs face-to-face. It’s a real benefit
to be part of more than just one or two of the phases that are often seen in much
As part of this dedication to quality,
ESCO has embraced the idea of using technology to get more accurate data and to
deliver products faster to the customer. In the 11 years I’ve been here, ESCO
has truly embraced new ideas and has always emphasized continuous improvement.
We have adopted analytical design through computer simulations, further enhancing
the manufacturability of our castings, modelling real-world conditions and
improving the strength and reliability of everything we make.
am proud to work for an industry leader. It’s uncommon for people to connect
mining with innovation or high-tech, but the small part I get to play in the
industry allows me to actively contribute to the full product life cycle every
day and be part of the continued success of a world-class brand.