What does Doris Dev do?

A. ‘We get hired to do three core types of work. The first is new product introduction: industrial design, engineering, sourcing, supply chain engagement and setting up production for that first purchase order. The second is supply chain management: managing a supply chain that has already been set up, overseeing programs for ongoing and replenishment purchase orders, or quality control. And then the third type of work we do is operations, which is everything related to fulfilling orders and shipping them to the end customer. We can provide a full backend service, and let the brand partners we work with focus on brand development, marketing and distribution – which are the kinds of things a lot of entrepreneurs these days want to focus on.’

More: See Doris Dev's step-by-step guide to product development

What motivated you to set up a product development agency?

A. ‘Before starting Doris Dev, I was involved in taking a few different consumer product brands to market and I saw how much money and energy went into setting up a supply chain for scale. After launch, there wasn’t much need on an ongoing basis for all of the resources and infrastructure – paying people like industrial designers or engineers, setting up supply chains, costs for tooling, the compliance testing process. All of this can cost in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars – and only needs to be done once unless the brand is looking to be an innovation engine on an ongoing basis. I saw an opportunity to create a team that could work on multiple brands and support the design and the supply chain set up. The brand gets a supply chain for scale but instead of having to support ongoing resources, they could just tap into our team on an as-needed basis. Maybe they’ll bring us in again for another product in 12 months or to design a new line.’

What do you mean when you say a ‘supply chain for scale’?

A. ‘I mean a supply chain that has scalable manufacturing processes and standard operating protocols and can produce at least 1,000 units at the same fidelity and with the same level of performance and aesthetic output. We work with brands that produce thousands or hundreds of thousands of units per run. We don’t do anything at the artisanal level.’

Why should a brand consider outsourcing its product design and supply chain?

A. ‘There are two main reasons. First, it can be a really complicated landscape to navigate, and there isn’t a one-size- fits-all approach, so it’s helpful to get in seasoned experts with a deep Rolodex and experience working on different types of products. Second, it can be an expensive endeavour, as you’re investing for the long haul, and setting up infrastructure that you’re going to hopefully be using for years to come. It’s important to make sure you’re doing it correctly, in a way that can scale from the start and not in a way that will require Band-Aid solutions as you grow.’

More: Five things you learn when the product you develop isn't financially viable

This article was first published in Courier issue 39, February/March 2021. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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