By Jeff Roska

Historically, manufacturers have had only two options when creating compute solutions for their products.

The first option is to buy a product designed and sold by a commercial off the shelf (COTS) vendor. The second? Design a custom product with the manufacturer’s own engineering team.

Each option misses the mark in certain aspects, which is why Equus Compute Solutions has created a third option: Joint Solution Development (JSD).

Read on to learn about the limitations of COTS and in-house custom products, and how Equus JSD can give you the best design and service at competitive prices.

COTS products mean no customization

An off-the-shelf solution from a COTS manufacturer can be inexpensive and quick-to-market.

If a manufacturer is able to find a COTS solution that aligns with their specific requirements, development time may be as short as a few days instead of a few months. This could be a good solution for initial beta-testing in an R&D environment or a product that does not require a unique feature set.

However, the narrow selection and lack of customization may not meet the specific requirements of a manufacturer. For example, a COTS manufacturer may not offer the exact CPU that a manufacturer needs, or may have additional unnecessary hardware. Or, a manufacturer may need to install additional add-in cards themselves to achieve a workable solution.

COTS suppliers also tend to have reduced post-sale service and support, which could present the manufacturer with customer service or warranty challenges in the future.

In-house custom designs are costly

Manufacturers can create a fully customized product to be built by a contract manufacturer.

In this scenario, the manufacturer undertakes all of the development activities and provides the specifications for the product. This path requires a large investment of engineering resources and can be time-and-cost-intensive.

Depending on the specific product requirements, this approach could require multiple engineers full-time over multiple months. Each iteration of the design or requirements would require additional material purchases and additional time for testing.

A custom in-house design is a viable option if the manufacturer has a full complement of engineering resources with plenty of capacity, the necessary expertise, and a large budget to manage all aspects of product and system development from ideation through the handoff to production.

When should manufacturers choose joint solution development?

If a manufacturer has specific needs that are not being met by a COTS supplier or a custom solution costs too much and takes too long, Equus offers a third, proprietary option called Joint Solution Development.

This is a collaborative approach to designing technology solutions that leverages the strengths of both the manufacturer and its technology partner. The resulting experience offers the best features of COTS and custom options.

During the development process, the expertise, activities, and resources are shared between the manufacturer and the technology partner in order to achieve the best outcome. Joint Solution Development hinges on the combined knowledge and skill sets of both organizations to maximize speed to market, customization, and reduce overhead cost.

OEM Joint Solution Table

Manufacturers that go through the product development cycle with a strong technology partner benefit from a collaborative approach backed by the resources needed to support even the largest organization.

These resources include direct relationships with component manufacturers, a solutions lab for testing, and expert engineers in all disciplines of compute technology. The collaborative result is an ideal solution. This solution is faster to market and more cost-effective than a fully customized solution, while meeting all of the manufacturer’s requirements and allowing the manufacturer control over the design.

Want to learn more about Joint Solution Development? See how Equus can solve your product development problems, or contact our team at