Back in my days of the living in a corporate world, a project manager once asked me why it took so long to come up with such a simple solution to a design problem. Glancing at the result, he said he could have come up with the same solution in a matter of hours.

This same project manager was known for projects that were perpetually over budget and behind schedule. His engineering teams were constantly under pressure to get the designs out the door and to the manufacturers. To save budgets, his engineering staff often were made up of junior level engineers with little product design experience.

A design engineer typically will come up with a more complex solution to a problem on first efforts. Poorly planned or hurried efforts result in products that contained more individual parts than necessary, are difficult to assemble, and require expensive manufacturing methods to produce. This project manager was always blaming his poor track record on the engineering department.

It takes creativity, planning, and coordination with customers, suppliers, and manufacturers to design the simplest, most effective, and least expensive product possible. The simplest solution is always the best solution, but it takes time and effort to come up with the best design.

Take the time up front to design the best, simplest product possible. The cost savings to produce the product will pay back the up-front effort time and time again.