We are a great company to work with and we share the same modern values as you. Your business is extra safe with us: you can focus on scaling it and you might not even need to search for another engineering & manufacturing partner ever again.
Would you take our words for it and trust us if we told you this way?
This manifesto could just end up here with the actual end result - with a true fact. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could just send this quote to a thousand people and scale their trust this way?
But see that’s the thing: as much as we are trying to leverage AI to scale stuff for us these days, trust is still not - and probably won’t ever be - scalable. And that’s fine.
So even if we could assure you the above quote is true, the way to gain trust is not by giving away the truth but by engaging in that slow-paced process where we both get to pick up small pieces of evidence that such truth exists.
This article is important in that it represents the foundation upon which our trust process will be built. By the way, you might already know us or you might contemplate working with us, either way you can take our - below - words for it and hold us accountable in the process. Let’s make better products at scale together.
Making better products?
Making products people actually want.
When we take on a new project, we always sit down with the client’s founding team or product team to understand a few “whys”.
- Why are we meeting today and talking about that specific market and specific set of features?
- What are the actual customer's needs and expectations that specific product proposes to address?
- What are the main KPIs (cost, lead time & features) this product needs to deliver on to meet its market?
Starting from the market must be the first step towards making a product with an actual purpose.
We, as your supply chain partner, need to have a clear understanding of your target market and what they expect from your product. It can be through any type of market research or customer feedback but you need to gain insights into their preferences and pain points to design a better product.
To that extend, clients always become friends and partners. We rarely act solely as a simple supplier but we always try and infuse the right mindset, processes and design thinking so that we make sure that your market validation serves as a true foundation for the space shuttle we are about to build.
Making innovative products.
Making better products means never launching a new product introduction process (NPI) or invest our customer’s hard-earned money just to reinvent the wheel.
When we start a new product development, we never create a new product to try and push that new shining technology but we always start from the use case to see which set of technologies might help deliver on the customer’s needs the best instead.
You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology - Steve Jobs
Besides, we always search for patent-free off-the-shelf design blocks we may be able to re-use (to save time & budget) and only create new ones if we need to. The end goal is to make sure that the resulting product has specific set of features that either advance the current state-of-the-art on its market or simply provide a better customer experience.
Making quality products.
Quality is the result we all expect - of course - but it is much more than a simple PASS or FAIL stamp after a good old third party’s Quality Control. Quality is first and foremost a mindset and a process that we implement at every step of product development and manufacturing - and we are also ISO9001 (among others).
During product development. We incorporate quality directly into our design & engineering process to ensure that the design is optimized for performance, reliability, and ease of use. This usually requires us to consider factors such as ergonomics, performance, safety, and sustainability. It implies identifying quality checkpoints early in the product development process during design review, prototyping, testing and production. We develop procedures and validation loops (design <> validate) to ensure that quality is monitored and evaluated at each checkpoint.
During purchasing. We only use high-quality materials and components since these will have a significant impact on the overall quality of your product. We only invest in high-quality raw materials and components that meet industry standards and are durable. Let’s take the electronic component example: we only purchase component from reputed original-brand-listed local distributors that can commit to the quality of what they sell.
During manufacturing. We implement stringent quality controls at every step of purchasing and manufacturing: this includes incoming material (iQC) / production (dupro) / pre-shipment (QA) inspections, testing, and verification. We use quality control tools such as statistical process control (SPC) to monitor and improve quality.
Quality is also a team’s effort. We work hand-in-hand with you on defining quality standards. This includes product specifications, performance requirements, quality yield requirements and overall customer experience expectations. It is important for us to involve all stakeholders early in the product development process so everybody understands and agrees on these standards.
Quality is a long-term commitment. Through our tight monitoring, we are able to apply continuous improvement methods: we collect feedbacks from sub-suppliers, production lines & customers so we can track quality metrics and identify areas for improvement. We use this feedback to refine our quality process, modify the product whenever needed so as to make the overall operations more effective.
Making successful products.
Making better products means that they can actually drive business growth on its market. When partnering with a customer, we are rarely in search for a one-off cooperation. This is not how you create long-lasting mutual growth.
Our goal is instead to help him scale and sustain a healthy business on the long run. How?! By helping him deliver on his short term business KPI (sometimes called project KPIs), we want to help him achieve his long term business KPI.
- By having a faster & more reliable time-to-market than the competition, our customer is able to enjoy faster, more reliable and longer lasting time-to-profit.
- By having more innovative features, our customer is able to carve a deeper market edge which in turn generates higher gross margins and higher barriers of entry. Always being one step ahead is how truly innovative operate and these are naturally protected from copycats.
- By designing its product “to-cost”, our customer protects its initial investment and increases its performance while making sure he will enjoy a competitive price positioning on its market.
- By having a stable quality yield (sub-1%), our customer reduces its cost (cost of returns, logistics, repairs, legals & warranty costs etc), create a favorable brand image and reputation goodwill on its market.
- By achieving the above on each and every project given to us, we allow our customer to scale its volume, cost-down savings, revenue and business operations.
- Our customer eventually gains market shares and create a dominant position which is the true definition of a successful long-lasting innovative product company. Our humble goal is to be the engineering, manufacturing & supply chain backbone of such businesses (yeah we are looking for you - reach out!).
Making greener products.
Making better products also means that they have a controlled impact on the environment.
We are firm believers that engineering, design and innovation will solve our most pressing challenges in the future so we apply what we preach.
What does it implies in the concrete?
- It means applying design for sustainability or repairability on all the products we make. More precisely, it means - of course - optimizing product’s energy consumption but also reasonability sizing the product solution as a whole. The goal here is to create small victories that will add up over time. We believe in compounded results: because we scale products, our good and bad decisions will also scale accordingly, we must be wary of that. Even more down to earth, we often end up using less resources by asking ourselves stupid simple questions such as:
- Do we really need all those features packed in V1? An optimized V1 is always better than a feature-packed-but-energy-intensive V1. Bonus: product development investment is lower and time-to-market is faster!
- Can we deliver the same features while using recycled or upcycled materials?
- Do we also really need 48h of continuous use when the typical use case clearly shows otherwise?
- Do we really need to ship a power adapter to customers in 2023 when everybody has been using Type-C?
- It means designing a leaner packaging, with less bells and whistles. The goal is to optimize SKU’s overall size and weight so as to lighten its literal “weight” - pun intended - on transportation and related CO2 emissions as much as making the actual packaging recyclable.
- It means planning out production schedules a bit more in advance so as to avoid using air freight to make up for tight schedules, preferably using less carbon intensive means of transportation. It also means making bigger production batches at once instead of repeat smaller batches to mutualize any “energy investment” going into the production round.
- It means educating our customer about the environmental impact of their products and provide support & guidance on how to use, dispose or repair them on their target market.
- It means optimizing quality yield at every stage of manufacturing both at our factory and at our sub-supplier’s to reduce energy consumption, scraps and wastes.
- It means using renewables to power our factory as much as possible.
To make better products, be a better company.
How do you build a better company?
The type of company that will attract great Customers and Hires all the same. The type of company that delivers on its promises of course, that's the minimum, but also inspires people. Well, at Supernova, we think that there is no magic formula for a great company but relentlessly shaping a strong culture within it sure is a great place to start!
This post actually started as an internal company wiki for new hires & sales account managers to understand how we move around here. But after discussing times and times again, we felt something was wrong.
Why preaching transparency and keeping this wiki internal? We are what we decide to be so why not letting everybody know? At the end of the day, our endeavor, albeit valuable in itself, is only represented by a few lines on a paper whereas in order to really live up to our values, we must apply them every day. It then became clear: what's better than accountability to make sure we live up to our values every day? Heck, that's when we decided to publish this wiki online and turn it into a Culture Manifesto.
It definitely isn't perfect, it will most likely change as we human change but trying to live up to those values and apply them in our daily work or customer interactions is what's the most important in the end.
Success comes from Customer’s Success
We do not want to sell to our prospects or clients.We are willing to ask questions & listen to their answer in order to understand their need.Once we understand their need, we can then tailor the best solution for them.You need to make sure that our business really fits their needs, even if it means ultimately turning down their business or introducing them to a better option. Make sure they succeed before we do.
Customers buy what they need. We do not sell them what they don’t need.
There are no Problems, there are only Solutions.
The Service we provide to our Customers must be Solution-Oriented.
There might be problems along the way but it is our mission to provide our Customers with the most cost & time effective solutions for them.
Even the most complex problem has a solution, talk to your expert team.
Customers don’t work with us to avoid problems, they work with us because they know we can solve them.
Transparent & Direct Communication
Creating hardware technologies & products from scratch, it is reasonable to think that challenges will occasionnally be met. Our mission is to find & solve the problems so we can create the best product, not pretend problems don’t exist.
Communicating with our Customers, always set the right expectations. Always give an accurate description of the current advancements when the customer asks so, even if it means giving bad news. But remember, bad news must always come with a solution to them.
Customers value honesty & direct communication.