DAAP Grant of Nearly $2 Million Promises New Brand of Success 

When you’ve wrung every possible penny in savings from vendors, trimmed time from the production process, stretched brand extension to the max, pumped up employee productivity to its highest pitch…and still your product’s sales have plateaued – what then?

If you’re one of a handful of local small- and medium-sized manufacturers, you’ll soon be able to turn to the Center for Design, Research and Innovation, housed in the University of Cincinnati's top-ranked College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.  The center just received a $1,886,563 two-year grant, in partnership with TechSolve, Inc., a Bond Hill manufacturing solutions organization, to help select local companies avoid the common pitfalls of new-product development.  The grant is from the Ohio Department of Development’s Third Frontier Project

“Efforts by manufacturers often miss profit objectives, launch behind schedule or fail in the marketplace because, traditionally, small and medium companies haven’t seen themselves as users of design services.  So, they engage in a competitive battle without using design as a strategic tool.  We’ll help companies decide which ideas to pursue, to figure out what the customer really needs and how to speed up the process," explained Craig Vogel, director of the UC center, adding that many individuals and UC colleges are contributing to the integrated effort, including Ed Grood of Biomedical Engineering.

One example Vogel then pointed to is local precision food-packing equipment maker, Planet Products of Blue Ash, which created a machine with a better cleaning process, allowing its customers to pack food products more efficiently.  Now, the company wants to leverage this innovation into new designs.  Similarly, other manufacturers in the partnership – makers of everything from titanium jet-engine parts to industrial valves for water-treatment plants – want to push their product and process boundaries.

Research by TechSolve and UC showed that manufacturers in the new partnership can expect to receive the following results:

• 25 percent increase in product success in the marketplace
• 20 percent increase in first-to-market innovation
• 25 percent reduction in time-to-market
• 50 percent increase in revenue from new products

In its first year, the partnership between the Center for Design, Research and Innovation and TechSolve will include 11 local manufacturers.  In the second year of the partnership, 20 more companies will benefit from the center’s expertise.  The economic impact due to new product development from this project is expected to total up to $48 million in revenue growth, with 120 jobs being created or retained over five years.

While housed within DAAP, the Center for Design, Research and Innovation represents a university-wide initiative and is also supported by UC’s College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Medicine, Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, Office of Research & Advanced Studies and Office of Entrepreneurial Affairs.  For more on the initiative and the companies involved, go to: http://www.techsolve.org/news.htm

 

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