Last week I asked you to submit ideas for a blog post for me to research and write about, I am happy to post the first one today. I was able to sit down with John, one of our Senior Engineers, and talk to him about the design process, taking a club from concept to market. Here is what John had to say:
How many designs get thrown away before you come to the final one?
That is sort of a tough question, it depends on what you call a design. In terms of our computer simulations we probably go through thousands of iterations before we come to one that we make a part of. So you could say we throw away thousands of those designs. When it comes to physical parts we might go through 10 to 15 iterations that will turn into the club that we want. So thousands or teens.
How far down the line are you looking? 2012, 2013… further?
A little bit of both. There are ideas that are abstract enough that if they could be made to work, wont show up until 2015 or later at best. Most of our ideas are 2012 or 2013 stuff. We have firm grasp on the next two or three years. But we have ideas that could be five or even ten years out.
How far do you have to get on a certain product before you are “All in” so to speak? Where it is just too late to throw it away.
I don’t know that it is ever to late to throw something away. We are only going to launch something if it is a great product. We could throw a club away and go back to the drawing board at any point. If it’s not right, it’s not right and it is definitely not going to market.
How many people are consulted for every product?
Well there is a team for each product that is three to five people in R&D, that persons boss, that persons bosses boss, that persons bosses bosses boss haha. About 10-15 people usually inside the building. We will also consult the regional sales managers, some tour players, just try and get a few points of view on every product. Now, how important their voice is will vary from person to person, but at least 30-40 total people see it before it’s a “Go”.
What is the average time line for a product, from the first meeting to market?
If we are going to make a new club we need at least a year. We need a one year development window from concrete ideas to market. Other, more complicated products might be multiyear projects. The original HiBore driver was a two to three year project, the same with laser milling.
If you have any other ideas for a blog I can post on, please let me know!