The Evolution of a Product. The Blue Diamond Way.
Our PSMS3-BOSTON1-Gold Medal Display is one of our top selling products. One of the best things about Blue Diamond, and one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of the company is developing new, ORIGINAL, products. Bringing a concept down from 10,000 feet to a finished production part, to be shipped to a customer is very rewarding. It is even more rewarding is when we get positive feedback from a customer once they receive their Medal Display.
Brad recently wrote:
Thanks so much for the reply and the bonus. I bought two of these for myself at the Boston Marathon expo in 2015 – got one for Boston and for the California International Marathon. I love them and everyone who sees them is so impressed. When my friend ran Boston this year, I just knew I had to get her one to celebrate her special day. Her Birthday is this weekend and she will be so happy and surprised. Thanks for creating this great product. I’m sure I’ll be back again. Thanks again,
While the journey from concept, then from “Art to Part” is not always the same for every new design, the Blue Diamond design process has shown to be solid and successful over the course of our 6 years in business.
Value-Add for the customer
There are certain elements that go into the design process that contribute to the success of our new products. The single most important element that goes into the design is value-add for the customer.
To design in value-add for the customer, we really have to have our finger on the pulse of our customers and make sure we are producing new designs that our customers like and prefer over our competition. Since we are endurance athletes, this helps out quite a bit. It is very easy to relate with our customers and we seek their input on a continuous basis.
In the story of our PSMS3-BOSTON1-Gold Medal Display, some direct feedback from customers went into this design. In 2014, our first year, with the Boston Marathon, we had two families of Boston Marathon Medal Displays, our SSMS2 Signature line or our larger Medal Displays, and our smaller Medal Displays, our SSMS3 line of products. At the 2014 event, we took into account customer feedback that the SSMS3 Medal Displays were a bit too small, and the SSMS2 products were a bit large. Although we did well that year selling both, we knew we had to address the,… sort of, “middle-of-the-road” issue that we kept hearing about.
In addition to the size issue, we also had heard very positive reviews on our Athlete Tabs© that we provide on our standard powder coated Medal Displays.
So as you can see, already, the design process was unfolding as we did our annual “Lessons Learned” recap for the 2014 event. At the top of our “to-do” list was creating a new Boston Marathon Medal Display that was somewhere in the middle of our two families of Displays, the SSMS2 and SSMS3 series, preferably with the Athlete Tabs© instead of Knobs.
At Blue Diamond we invented the Athlete Tabs©. The Athlete Tabs evolved from our experience, creativity and expertise in precision metal forming and is representative of a technology-driven design element. Our 30+ years of experience in precision metal forming has provided a competitive edge for us and has allowed us to “push the envelope” on many of our Medal Display, metal designs. Our creative art staff initially sketched up a concept which was then forwarded to our design and engineering teams to see if indeed it was feasible. It certainly was feasible and today, we can lay claim to being the only company to provide Athlete Tabs© as the hanging mechanism on our Displays.
So taking in the value-add for the customer, based on feedback at the Boston Marathon 2014 expo, the initial Design Criteria for the new display were:
- -6-10 Athlete Tabs
- -Size in between our SSMS3 and SSMS2 Displays
- -Powder coated steel
At this point, the Display is flying at about 10,000 feet and is just a concept.
Original, Blue Diamond Quality, Something Fresh & Something New
The second important element that we take into account in any new design is, the new design must be Original and Blue Diamond quality. This is the point in the design process when we add our expertise, experience and inherent creativity to the product. This is our opportunity to do something fresh, something new and not the same ole, same ole you see when it comes to hangers and hooks and racks from our competitors. It really is hard to tell one from another with competitive products. At that point the only competitive advantage is competing on price, and it becomes a “race to the bottom”.
In general it is very safe to say that most of the racks, hooks, hangers and displays on the market are rectangular, ranging in size from 5” x 12” up to 7” x 20” with exception of our SSMS2 series which is the largest standard Medal Display offering on the market at 7.5” X 31-1/2”.
This is the part of the design process, where our designers join forces with our professional artist to brainstorm fresh new design concepts. This is the fun and exciting part of the entire design process since at this point we are sort of venturing into the exciting unknown.
However, you must have the intestinal fortitude and believe in your brand 24-7, 365 to embark into this arena. We do!
In the development of our PSMS3-BOSTON1-Gold, we used this as an opportunity to go away from the common rectangular shape and instead went with a shape driven by the distinctive, renowned Boston Marathon Logo. There are two approaches in the design of products; bottom up vs. top down. With the introduction of a new shape, driven by the detailed Boston Marathon logo, that would be a bottom up design driver. Going away from a rectangular shape to something new, would be a top down design driver. Combining the two approaches gave us the current size and shape of our PSMS3-BOSTON1-Gold Medal Display.
Combining Bottom-up and Top-down concepts
So thus far taking into account these elements in the design process
- -Value-Add for the Customer
- -Original and Blue Diamond Quality
- -Something Fresh, Something New
- -Technology-Driven Design Elements
- -Combining Bottom Up and Top Down Design Concepts
Yielded the following in our PSMS3-BOSTON1-Gold Medal Display:
- -7 Athlete Tab Medal Display
- -Powder Coated over Steel, with our Original, Distinctive Backing
- -Completely new shape for Medal Displays, driven by the Boston Marathon Logo
- -Convenient size Medal Display; not too big, not too small
- -Attractive Product, Competitively Priced
At this point in the design process, our designers are now set to hand off the design to our engineering team. The engineering team plugs in all the fine details, i.e. exact material specifications, exact finish specifications, size and shape and height of the Athlete Tabs©, conducts form, fit and function testing as well as fit-for-use studies.
Once our design team and engineering team approve the new design, our management team approves the new design for prototype. We then do a pre-production prototype run of a small quantity of displays for testing. Once the prototypes are approved, the design is released for production or general availability.
The goal here is to get the prototypes correct right out of the box. Because of our sophisticated design CAD and CAM software, we are able to cut down on design iterations and more often than not, get the design correct on the first iteration as was the case with our PSMS3-BOSTON1-Gold Medal Display.
The true measure of success with any product for any business is the generated sales. Since the PSMS3-BOSTON1-Gold, Medal Display is our number 2 selling product, it is safe to say that incorporating it has been a success for us.
The success of our PSMS3-BOSTON1-Gold lead to a second product, a scaled-up, more masculine version of the Gold Display in Metallic Green, our PSMS3L-BOSTON1-Green.
Taking into account our customer first and foremost, trying something new and original, utilizing the strengths of our company, employing both top-down and bottom-up design concepts and having fun the whole way through results in nice “Wins” for the Blue Diamond Family and more
Thank you for reading.