Does Your R&D Department Have What It Needs?
The research and development department of any business is arguably the most important. Many businesses actually have internal squabbles over this fact because much of the power is with the R&D teams. However this is rightfully so because the central nervous system of your business i.e. the ideas and the leader, must have a center where everything translates over into the business as pure as possible. For example, you want to make a product that will be the strongest steel structure support in the industry. Commercial buildings, homes, plants and just about every solid structure could use it. It will be safer, more durable, last longer and high quality. Your vision must be translated to the smartest people in your business. Your ideas must flow directly from the boardroom to the physical realm where it starts to materialize. Everything else comes second. Marketing, sales, design and even financing comes second when it comes to the product aim itself. So with such an important department, have you ever asked yourself if your employees have the right tools?
Niche equipment for tests
If you’re making a product that will need to withstand heat but also be in the consumer’s life all the time, then you need strongest lab test methods. You don’t want to make a product such as a pair of glasses, out of toxic material or one that will cause a skin allergic reaction. Therefore you need to test your materials and product overall for health and safety. Even if the quality of the material is high, if it’s not safe for humans then it cannot be sold. Does your business have such a lab and equipment where they can do these tests? If you’re making a service that is going to be for a very niche and serious issue, then you need niche equipment.
For example, if you’re conducting some kind of genome research to make a product that will alter or affect cells or DNA, then you need equipment that allows for rigorous testing and handling. This drosophila chip seq allows your employee scientists to buffer formulations, get samples ready for testing and have as little contamination or changing of the spliced tissue. The materials used, do not contaminate the solutions put into the vial or tubes. This means your test results will be more pure and with fewer deviations. This kind of niche equipment is something your business should look for, when it comes to your own testing desires.
Space and exclusivity
You will note that when you look at the Formula One teams in their development centers, they always keep the R&D department separate. Why is this? It’s not because those employees that work there are valued more, or that there is a requirement from the employees to have their own space. It’s because very sensitive products are being designed inside. Loose lips sink ships as the saying goes. There have been many scandals whereby someone was allowed inside this department and incredibly cutting-edge technology was leaked out to the competitors of the team. This is also why your R&D department needs to be slightly cut off from the rest of the business.
By giving your best employees their own space, you also give them a more dedicated area to work from. They are not going to be writing up very important reports, right next to the coffee machine in the canteen area. By investing and giving them space you also allow for more equipment to be housed and more people to work and discuss in one room. For example, you can have two teams in the department that want to prove the other team’s idea is wrong. With side by side testing, the results can be absorbed and debated among many different people at once. This is so important because high level discussion needs to happen to purify the ideas that you have. With a larger and more exclusive space, you give your best employees room to spread their wings both mentally and physically.
Access to past failures
Any research and development department has to have a base load of data. If you plan on making a new hairdryer, you need to know the kind that you’re making will work. Maybe you’re going to be using a particular fan design, but before you decide on it you should look out into the world and see what has failed. Maybe a product from another company didn’t do so well because of the lack of blowing power, despite the product being well designed, reliable and high quality. So your employees need to scan the field and see if there have ever been any similar products to the type that they are building and learn from the past mistakes.
You can also do this by mimicking other products and testing them. Obviously you do this the old fashioned way by actually buying a rival’s product and bringing it to your test center. However you need some kind of equipment that will allow for good and accurate testing to take place. Aerodynamic tunnels and wind speed indicators should be readily available to your employees. Using this kind of equipment they can make what the fault in the design is and then make specific improvements to their designs.
An R&D department will be full of brilliant minds but they won’t always agree with each other. To give everyone a chance at getting their ideas tested, you should issue the order to make several prototypes. Various prototypes will give not just a wider understanding of the task but it allows different trains of thought and movements in your business to feel appreciated. Fair testing needs to be done to each that you make so the truly sound designs can be taken forward quickly while others can make adjustments.
If there is one department who you should cater to the most instead of just asking them to make do with what they have, is the research and development department. The employees should be given the correct and specific equipment so they can properly conduct accurate testing.