10 Point Plan for Using Consultants for Electronics Design
1. Define what you want and put it in writing.
2. Never engage a company without a clear written specification defining deliverables. Note that if you are at concept stage you may have to accept a charge for helping you turn concept into a meaningful technical specification (amount of this will vary depending on the gap between the two). CE marking will be your responsibility (self certification) but a good design consultant will be able to give you advice.
3. Never place an order without knowing the cost (budget and delivery). ‘Quick to market’.
4. Do meet the consultant in his/her place of work.
5. Don’t be afraid to say no if you aren’t comfortable.
6. Make sure your specification states your requirements clearly and that you understand the cost breakdown completely. Unexpected extras can be a shock.
7. Make sure of the competence of the individuals in question. Ask for qualifications. Ask to have a summary of some of the other projects they have done (you can’t ask for full detail because that would be a commercial breach of confidence).
8. Assess whether they do what they say they are going to do from the earliest stages. For example, companies that are prompt and efficient about providing quotes are often prompt and efficient in other things.
9. Do trust your instinct even if you are not technical. You are probably right. Lots of consultants to choose from.
10. Do include power up/test of your electronics before delivery.
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