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Ken Martin, Founding Principal

October 19, 2018

Manufacturer Selection

This blog post comes courtesy of ADE’s founding principal, Ken Martin, who shares his experience specifying innovative new products after going through a series of rigorous tests.

At Aquatic Design & Engineering (ADE), we are quite purposeful about the manufactured products that are selected for our projects. Since 1974, I have been very passionate about cramming as much research as I can into my spare time. In that research, I am looking to discover the new products that can shape our industry. For ADE however, discovering a product is just the beginning.

Naturally, we have an abhorrence to recommend/specify products that have not been fully vetted with a sufficient field testing to allow some thoughtful revisions and improvements. The relationships we have built with owners, operators, and design professionals inhibit us from prematurely placing a new product onto a project.

"We do not go forward with a new product until we are true believers with full confidence in that specified product."

You might be curious to learn more about some of the distinct phases, procedures, and safeguards employed internally on products and equipment prior to being included on an ADE project.

Product Discovery
• What is it? Is it better than the similar products we are already using? Is it a revolutionary product?
• Will the price-point prevent it from being feasible?

Product Investigation
• How it might work with our existing, reliable products? Is it compatible?
• Does this product remove the need for other equipment? Is it a trend-setter?

Full Materials Review
• How will the material endure? How are the product's various materials and components selected by the manufacturer?
• What is the anticipated longevity? What is the impact on related materials? What is the life of the product when exposed to unreasonable and adverse conditions?
• What is the warranty?

Key Stakeholders Investigation
• Who is behind the product? Is it a proven manufacturer? What expertise do they have?
• Where are the products manufactured?
• Does the manufacturer consistently exercise a proven QA/QC process prior to the product being shipped?
• What support does the manufacturer offer with the product?

Manufacturer Visit
Finally, when all of the earlier phases and tests have satisfied the ADE internal guidelines, we schedule a meeting at the manufacturer’s facility to meet with the company and observe the products being manufactured. Nothing replaces the actual observation trip; this is when we get the heartbeat of the manufacturer and view their team in operation.

This is an intensive process but one to which ADE has committed because we know that our development partners and owners deserve a product that has only been selected after a rigorous vetting.

To learn more about how ADE works, check out Our Process.