Strong, reliable, innovative. While these are some of the qualities you look for in a custom case, the same sentiment rings true in the case of your provider. You want to know that the organization who creates your custom case is just as invested in your product (and business) as you are — and there are some tell-tale signs that indicate this is the case (pun intended).
To point you in the right direction, we’ve put together a list of qualities that define the ideal partner for bringing your custom shipping cases to life.
Create Solutions From the Ground Up
For custom shipping case providers that work on a higher volume basis, off-the-shelf options are typically used as a starting point for solutions. While a breadth of stock options can be valuable to many projects, it’s not always the right answer to custom case needs. Simply put, you don’t want to place a square peg into a round hole.
Instead, a conversation with a custom case provider should be the springboard to developing unique, rich case solutions. Whether you have to solve logistical problems or integrate technology into your custom case, you’ll feel confident knowing your case was fully created to suit your needs. In other words, your priorities are your provider’s priorities.
Leverage Value-Engineered Design
It’s no secret that there is a tug of war between costs and innovation in custom shipping cases. Value-engineered design aims to achieve this balance by pairing economical processes with the assurance of consistent quality and performance.
Custom case providers that use value-engineered design give customers the best of both worlds. You’ll have the resources you need to meet form and functionality requirements, with the most efficient results in terms of costs and production speeds.
Encourage and Value Communication
The initial conversation around a custom case should be one of many between a customer and a provider. As the customer, you should have multiple opportunities to connect with the provider and voice questions/comments to minimize expensive changes at a later point.
Consider this in the scope of the entire design process: Your custom case provider should look for your input as they move to the drafting table and refine ideas as needed, as well as share 3D models and renderings to confirm finalized versions align with your expectations. All the while, they should be well-versed in your language to ensure all messages are clearly communicated.
How do you know if a custom case provider delivers on this promise? Their portfolio of success stories is one of the best indicators. After all, effective communication is the foundation of any successful custom case project.
Offer an All-In-One Solution
Imagine a scenario where a state-of-the-art industrial design firm has just completed your custom case design. While the design looks great on screen (and paper), you turn it over to a manufacturer only to find out that the design hasn’t been optimized for manufacturing and requires engineering revisions. Mind you, these designs can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
By choosing a custom case provider that uses a design-for-manufacturing (DFM) approach, you’ll eliminate this potential headache. With DFM, the design requirements of the product are developed with the complexities of the manufacturing process in mind, so you can ensure your case is manufacturable from the onset and there are no unpleasant surprises down the road — from unanticipated costs to wasted time.
An added bonus of keeping your design and manufacturing with one provider: Since no designs are funneled between businesses, there is enhanced protection over your intellectual property.
Address Existing Needs While Planning Ahead
Whether a custom case provider is working on a carrying case, road case or another transit case, it’s important that the current situation is thought of in the larger picture. Custom case providers should have a firm grasp on what your needs are going to be in the future, so they can ensure there are no gaps in your business.
Beyond the benefits this provides your business operations, discussion about the future is also a sign that your custom case provider is invested in a long-term relationship. With an established vision of your goals and needs, this strategic partnership will deliver more value when you need to bring new products to the market or adjust existing components — without the stress of having to form new partnerships.
Another important part of this conversation is brand continuity. Custom case providers should think about each case in the scope of a family of products, ensuring that there is a cohesive style and branding between them. Continuity across all cases will tell a better brand story.
Diversity of Capabilities
Custom cases come with an array of specifications and standards. This could come in the form of special resins to maintain optimal temperatures for medical devices, or conformance to the ATA 300 specification guidelines for aerospace applications (to name a few examples).
In either case, a unique approach is needed for design, engineering and manufacturing — and your custom case provider should support this through a diversity of capabilities. From a wide range of materials (e.g., plastic, EVA, wood) to versatile manufacturing processes (e.g., injection molding, thermoforming), a more extensive list of capabilities translates into better results for your custom case, and more opportunities for the future.
At Cases By Source, we combine expertise with advanced technology to create high-quality custom case solutions for a variety of industries. To see how we turn unique concepts into manufactured cases, browse our design and manufacturing resource.