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ESCO Engages Blog

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​​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.

 

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In order to do that, we use the DMEDI (Define, Measure, Explore, Develop, Implement) process when developing our products.

 

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.

 

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​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 gaps.

 

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.

 

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​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 larger organizations.

 

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.


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I 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.