7 Reasons to Partner with an OEM on Product Development

Consumers today want variety — a lot of it. They also want quality, convenience, affordability, and, of course, novelty. That’s quite the list of demands. And it’s putting pressure on food companies to constantly come up with new ways to keep customers coming back.

Whether you’re a contract manufacturer that needs to achieve a certain color or yield to satisfy your clients, or you’re looking to expand or add value to your product offerings (perhaps by applying bar marks), partnering with an equipment manufacturer can help you achieve your goals while also saving you time and money on product development.

Here are seven ways partnering with an OEM during your R&D stage can benefit you.

1. Less production downtime

If you don’t have a dedicated R&D center, product development time is equivalent to downtime. Every minute you spend running your machines for product development is a minute you’re not spending on production. By working with an OEM, you can remove R&D from your plant schedule and instead keep your lines running salable products.

At Unitherm, we help you achieve this goal in a couple of ways:

  • Solution centers. We operate three solution centers around the world where you can come and test some of the most advanced thermal processing equipment in the industry.
  • Outsourced sampling. If you have specific requirements, we can work with you to match the product to your control sample and specifications.
  • Smaller equipment. If you want to do all of your development in-house, but don’t want to use your large-scale production equipment, consider purchasing some smaller equipment just for R&D use. For example, our Micro Spiral Oven takes up very little room on your factory floor, but still gives you all of the benefits of a full-sized machine. If later you choose to pursue a new product on a larger scale, you can upgrade to a larger machine with full confidence that you’ll get the same results.

2. Shorter time to market

Since an external team doesn’t have to work around your production schedule, they’re often able to shorten the time it takes to get your product from concept to market. This cuts your product development costs and increases your potential profits.

3. Cost savings

Partnering with an OEM can save you a lot of money because you don’t have to invest upfront in new equipment. You can perfect the product first as a proof of concept before you decide to launch larger-scale production.

4. Access to the latest technologies

You may want to try a process or technology you’ve never used before. For example, say you’ve been grilling chicken breasts for a ready meal using a gas flame grill and now you’d like to try charcoal. By partnering with an OEM, you can gain access to the latest technologies.

5. Deeper expertise in specific processes

An external team can bring to the table expertise and a fresh perspective that your internal team may not have. For example, our Unitherm Executive Chefs have deep knowledge of our various thermal processes and processing equipment. Because of this, they can often suggest solutions that you might not have thought about.

6. More manpower

Food manufacturers are constantly being pushed to do more with less. That includes a smaller workforce. Partnerships provide you with the manpower you need to move products down the pipeline.

7. The ability to act like a startup, even if you’re not

Finally, true innovation requires companies to be agile — able to move quickly and change course on a dime. This doesn’t describe the typical food manufacturer. Working closely with equipment manufacturers allows your company to act more like a startup, which could help protect you from being outcompeted by one.

Unitherm can partner with you in several ways to improve your product development. Learn more about our executive chef consultations, outsourced sampling services, and solution centers.

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