Tag Archives: Product Development

15 Jun

Neocon 2018: Blurred Lines

As a product development consultancy, our company works in a range of markets from furniture to theme park rides. When comparing technical projects involving theme park restraints or autonomous automotive interiors to furniture, we typically view furniture design as relativity straight forward. Then there are days we walk through 10 showroom floors filled with nothing but furniture and we are reminded that no design is simple and straight forward. In other words, not all chairs are created equal.

Furniture design is about a user’s environment; it is emotive and primal. We continue to see a trend of blurring the lines between home and office and it has never been more noticeable than now. From texture to color and finishes, we see furniture companies do what they can to differentiate in a market so saturated it’s water-logged. This makes design more important than ever. What makes a chair stand out in a building with thousands? This question is only answered by thorough research, well-balanced design and pointed execution.

As work environments continue to change through new products brought to market it creates new design challenges for future product development. We’ve seen offices open-up in terms of floor plans and desk configurations. In response, we’ve seen walled conference rooms, isolation pods and other creative answers to noisy environments with little privacy. This creates a continuous cycle of new design challenges and constant need for new product development and research.

This continuous cycle of research and product development will continue to focus on user experience. This will always be the driving force for furniture whether it be healthcare, home or office. It is our job as designers and engineers to continue this process for both the users and the companies that rely on us to help bring successful product to market. Constantly evaluating users, environments and products allows us to stay relevant in a fast-paced world and consistently deliver innovative and responsible product.

In competitive job markets, we see spatial and furniture design as a recruiting tool for companies to bring the best talent into their teams. Furniture design is used as a powerful driving force behind a company’s brand identity and a continuation of their culture. All these decisions have a lasting impact that goes far beyond what looks “good” in your office park.

All in all, Neocon serves as our annual memento for how far furniture has come and all the problems we still need to solve. It is truly incredible to see so many different designs for something that, in theory, could be as simple as an elevated surface. This serves as a constant reminder that our design problems, industries and businesses are forever changing and evolving.

(All photos taken while attending Neocon 2018)

Conor Fredricks

Industrial Designer

Fredricks Design, Inc.

Fredricks Design, Inc. is a full-service design and engineering firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan. The firm specializes in working as an extension of the client studio and engineering team to identify the right problems and accelerate development of solutions from early ideation, feasibility, concept development and production of mock-ups, prototypes and show properties. Fredricks works with key Clients in the automotive interiors and seating industries, advanced rides and show action projects for themed attractions, furniture, healthcare and consumer products markets.

30 Apr

Fredricks Design, Inc. announces partnership with Siemens

Siemens+Fredricks Partnership

We are delighted to announce our strategic partnership with Siemens to provide product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions, Teamcenter, NX, Solid Edge software to our Clients.

Our partnership with Siemens leverages the range of software, technology and consulting solutions offered by Siemens with our deep experience for application with Client teams in diverse markets. The agreement includes identified companies in Western Michigan, Northern Indiana and Chicago.

Rogerio Miquel will lead the technical offering supported by our research, marketing, design and engineering team and the global Siemens organization.

“This strategic agreement was developed over the past several months based on our belief that we can make a positive impact on product development from early ideation through production release, manufacturing and distribution”, stated Maury Fredricks.

We will work with Client teams to explore systems improvements for business growth, enhanced performance and better profitability. Please stay tuned for future updates and detailed case studies.

Contact us anytime to schedule an exploratory discussion about your current systems and different ways we can work together.

Thanks for our past and future work with your team!

Maury Fredricks

CEO

Fredricks Design, Inc.

Fredricks Design, Inc. is a full-service design and engineering firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan. The firm specializes in working as an extension of the client studio and engineering team to identify the right problems and accelerate development of business and product solutions from early ideation, feasibility, concept development and production of mock-ups, prototypes and show properties. Fredricks works with key Clients to develop automotive cockpits, interiors and seating, advanced rides and show action projects for themed attractions, furniture, healthcare and consumer products.

fredricks.com

design.fredricks.com

 

27 Feb

You are affected by PLM. What is PLM and how to stop it…

This article is not about stopping a wide-spread, silent and dangerous disease as the title may suggest, but you’re here now so let’s talk about PLM or Product Lifecycle Management. To put it dryly, it’s an information management system that can integrate data, processes, business systems and, ultimately, people in an extended enterprise. [1] Most importantly, it’s a disciplined way to connect and supercharge a ridonkulous amount of information in your company to get product to market faster, decrease redundant activities, and increase profits. To readers not operating “extended enterprises”, you can imagine PLM to be like the work of ecologists who study complex, living ecosystems. Read More

21 Feb

Fredricks announces the addition of Dave Miller to our team!

On February 19, 2018, Fredricks Design, Inc. welcomed Dave Miller, BSME, to our team.

Dave graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He spent the last few years as an engineer in the manufacturing environment at Gentex Corporation in Zeeland, MI. His true passion is in new product development, design, and engineering. He brings a strong skill sets in 3D CAD modeling, prototyping, testing, design for manufacturability and understanding of the manufacturing process. Dave will be a tremendous asset to the design and engineering team at Fredricks Design and our Clients. He will be based in our Grand Haven, Michigan studio.

Please join us with an enthusiastic welcome for Dave!

Maury Fredricks

CEO

Fredricks Design, Inc.

Fredricks Design, Inc. is a full-service design and engineering firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan. The firm specializes in working as an extension of the client studio and engineering team to identify the right problems and accelerate development of solutions from early ideation, feasibility, concept development and production of mock-ups, prototypes and show properties. Fredricks works with key Clients in the automotive interiors and seating industries, advanced rides and show action projects for themed attractions, furniture, and consumer products markets.

fredricks.com

design.fredricks.com

 

31 Jan

Autoshow 2018: Tricky Times Ahead

Image courtesy of Maury Fredricks

Just returned from a trip to attend the Industry Preview Days at the Autoshow in Detroit. It’s about a three-hour drive down I-96 from our home in Grand Haven. Typically, drivers are doing an average of 15 over the prescribed limit and traffic is tight in spots. You can move swiftly across the state and it’s worth the drive to check out the NAIAS, the Autoshow. As designers and engineers, we go to witness and take note of styling and technical trends. For us, it’s a bit of a museum of the past and lens to the future. Ironically, the most innovative vehicles shown may be the death of the show itself.

As I confirmed through multiple conversations at Cobo Hall, the show is dying from the inside. Difficult to change the course of a large ship and the NAIAS is at risk of not being able to adapt to the blurring social and technological landscape. Read More

29 Jun

furniture and work space insights…

workspace office furniture design

City planning for the work space.

We commissioned a research and ideation project to explore the correlation between city planning and the design of work environments. The findings from this study supported our premise that any work environment is a landscape of unique environments and spaces designed to meet different types of activities and work styles. This connection is a powerful concept that can be leveraged on space planning and furniture design. Collaborative partnerships with the customer, A+D firms and product designers from diverse backgrounds will drive new thinking and dramatic improvements in the work place.

The work space continues to evolve and the next several years will be a challenging time for many furniture brands. The overall market is flat and there are simply a lot of companies competing for market share. Ongoing uncertainty in the market will require agility and responsiveness to customer demands for new thinking and solutions.

A recent day trip to Neocon in Chicago highlighted the trends that will shape the furniture market over the next several years and beyond.

Read More

28 Feb

fredricks new website launched…check it out.

www.fredricks.com

We have launched our new website. The site includes new case studies and content based on our recent work. Please check it out and send your comments.

Thanks!

-Maury and Team Fredricks

15 Mar

Fredricks Design Review 2: Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality

In our last Fredricks Design Review, we took a look at Google Cardboard, an inexpensive gateway to virtual reality. Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper into another reality bender called “augmented reality”. “But whoa, bro. Isn’t all reality augmented”? you might say. That’s a rabbit hole that neither of us have time for today so we’re going to focus on an area of technology called “augmented reality”.

Augmented reality is, very simply stated, a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data1. Got it? Think of it as a clear Read More

01 Dec

How to construct an effective design brief.

effective design brief

“We benchmark in/out of market, gather voice of the consumer (VOC) and intelligence to form a project brief that outlines goals and problem statements. Our clients sometimes provide the project brief”.

This quote, from the Discover Phase of our product development process, highlights the importance of a thorough and detailed design brief in early phase product development.

Our work over three decades with some of the world’s best companies has been challenging, rewarding and, admittedly sometimes a bit frustrating. Looking back at our diverse work, we have learned to ask the right questions during the development of a well-constructed design brief. We offer this brief essay to share our key lessons and help improve our work with clients and suppliers. Read More

30 Nov

Ben Fredricks celebrates 6.0 years with our company!

Ben Fredricks, Industrial Designer

Ben Fredricks joined our family business on November 30, 2009 and it’s been a wonderful journey, so far!

They say that height and talent skip a generation. This is entirely the case in our family. Please note that, Ben is not standing on a soapbox in the photo above.

Ben is a well rounded designer with the ability to sketch, render, model and figure out how things will work when the concepts ultimately go into production. Read More

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