Maintaining a realistic timeline is an important aspect of managing a custom medical cart project. When you launch into development, it’s important to understand and consider the following five factors in order for the project to meet your requirements and timeline:
1. Project Needs
Your commitment to design guidance, being available to answer questions during the engineering process and knowing the materials you want upfront shorten timelines considerably, especially when these fundamentals are combined with complete scope features and functions documents. This information allows us to order the necessary materials and parts sooner and get design underway. Otherwise, initial design processes may take longer than anticipated.
Choosing materials requires thinking about function and availability. HUI Project Manager, Nicole Reese, offers this advice: “Stick with sheet metal such as steel or aluminum because these materials are readily available. Generally, we can order and receive steel in a day or two.” Custom outside processes and materials, however, will delay your timeline due to import time, color matching, tooling and other methodologies outside of HUI that are related, but not limited to, injection molding, thermoforming, machining, extrusions and cast aluminum.
Projects that require cast, aluminum or plastic injection molding tooling will extend your timeline. Generally speaking, injection molding may take anywhere from 18 to 41 weeks depending if the tooling is domestically made or imported.
Casters are always a big deal. The caster you choose can have a huge effect on the duration of your timeline. For instance, there are some off-the-shelf casters in stock in the United States that we can access in one or two weeks. Non-stock casters typically ship from Germany; a non-expedited delivery can take 12 to 15 weeks, and an expedited shipment ranges from 6 to 8 weeks, but incurs additional expense.
5. Project Purpose
HUI is flexible when it comes to project timeline-related issues, should our customer’s purpose warrant a change. Recently, we worked on a project that required a lot of hard tooling, but because the first set of carts were specifically for a trade show, we manufactured one-off components to speed up the turnaround.
At HUI, we understand the importance of lead times and are committed to honest, open communication and product accessibility, so everyone is on the same page from concept through delivery. For more information, check out Six Ways to Avoid Medical Cart Project Starts and Stops.