Excellence in Product Design and Development
IDE has built its business by developing flexible long term relationships with its customers. Almost all of IDE’s business is based on repeat business and referrals from existing customers.
Our philosophy at IDE is simple—if our customers receive value from our relationship, then IDE will continue to receive new business in the form of new projects or new client referrals. It is rare for IDE to do only one project with a customer.
A typical relationship begins with a phone call and a subsequent meeting at either IDE or our customer’s office. IDE will often give a brief presentation on its capabilities and past projects followed by a briefing from the customer on their business and specific product design needs. From this briefing, IDE can formulate a preliminary Project Plan and Budget Estimate which can be presented to the customer at a follow-up meeting, usually within a week of the initial briefing.
The preliminary Project Plan and Budget Estimate will include an overview of the project goals, constraints, and pre-determined specifications. It will also include a breakdown on a phase by phase basis of tasks, deliverables and costs estimated to complete the project. A milestone timeline (MS Project worksheet) is normally included with the written project plan. There are no fees associated with the preparation of the preliminary Project Plan and Budget Estimate.
IDE works on a time and materials basis, billing its time against a budget authorized in advance by the customer. A budget estimate for each phase of a project is provided to the customer by IDE. The customer will authorize IDE to commence work by signing a Consulting Services Agreement or by issuance of a company Purchase Order for the amount budgeted. Typically, a cash retainer is also required. The retainer is held by IDE and credited against final billings. IDE normally bills a client for work expended every two weeks or at the end of each phase, whichever is sooner. Along with each invoice, IDE provides a billing summary detailing all amounts billed against the project and the amount of budget remaining.
IDE assigns a project manager to each project. The IDE project manager is normally the lead designer/engineer and in all cases has intimate knowledge of the progress, problems, solutions and milestones associated with the project. The IDE project manager is also the point of contact for the customer for most forms of communication. In some instances another team member may work directly with a member of the customer’s team for specialized tasks. Because IDE’s customers are located in all parts of the world, IDE has developed a discipline for client/vendor communications which ensures that all parties are apprised of the current status of the project. Methods of communication are E-mail, often including graphical/pictorial or e-file content; FTP data file transfer; and real-time interactive video/voice teleconferencing (Go to Meeting, WebEx, etc.). When appropriate, IDE will meet with a customer for design reviews, working sessions and other instances in which a person to person meeting is mutually beneficial.
IDE normally assigns to its customers, ownership of all rights to intellectual property created during the course of a project. IDE’s designers and engineers are often listed as the inventors on design and utility patents, however ownership of the invention and the cost of acquiring a patent, is born by the customer. Normally, no license fees to IDE are required, however IDE is compensated for its’ time associated with the review and signature cycle that is required for a customer’s patent or copyright application.
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