The MPE Degree

How Long Does It Take to Design & Manufacture a Custom Medical Cart?

As you consider your new custom medical cart project, one of the questions that you’re sure to ask is, “How long is this going to take?” If you are charged with this task, your likely dealing with a deadline to submit for FDA approval or for meeting a product launch date. Understandably you’re anxious to get your new cart launched.

Before you select the cart manufacturer that has told you they can build your new cart quicker than all the rest, there are a few things to consider. What can the timeline tell you about your selected cart provider? Do you have a clear understanding of your role in the process? What’s the worst thing that will happen if your new cart takes a little longer to go to market?

How Long Does It Take to Design & Manufacture a Custom Medical Cart?

What a Timeline Can Tell You

I’ve only had a few prospective clients who didn’t want their cart started and finished ASAP. Most companies you could choose to work with will have multiple projects in process. Beware when one of those companies suggests that they can deliver your custom medical cart in significantly less time than the others. A fair question to ask them is “How?” Perhaps several different team members will have a small part in your project, allowing the work to get done sooner. Maybe they have excess capacity in their design engineering department. Understanding the factors built into their timeline will help set your expectations.

Get Ready to Do Your Part

Designing and engineering a new medical cart is hard work and not just for the company you hire. There are certain things that only you can do: providing a statement of work, specifications, target price, annual volume, itemizing must have and nice to have features, reviewing deliverables, weekly review meetings and so on. Taking the time to respond and provide requested input for your cart project isn’t always convenient.

We understand that you’re busy; most people are. Part of what goes into determining the timeline for your custom medical cart project is knowing that sometimes we’ll be waiting for you. We do our best to make it as simple as possible, but the reality is, your cart partner can’t do a good job without you. Delivering a quality custom cart solution and meeting your deadline means committing to do your part.

What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

Deadlines can be a good thing if they allow for a realistic timeline in the first place. Chances are, by the time you’re selecting a company to design and build your new cart, you’ve been thinking about it for months. We understand that you need to have a deadline; we’re merely suggesting you consider the reason you’ve chosen the date. Is the reason important enough that you might compromise your decision of who to work with? What’s the worst thing that can happen? If missing the deadline means financial loss or falling behind your competition, that’s bad. On the flipside, if missing it means a little disappointment but having a better cart, that’s not so bad.

So How Long Does It Really Take?

I wish I had a definitive answer for you, but I don’t. MPE has designed and built hundreds of custom medical carts and no two projects were the same. Through that experience we’ve come to understand the time it takes to develop the right solution for your specific application. Here are some of the factors that can impact the timeline of your project:

  • Special Tooling, Weld Fixtures – typically two weeks
  • Tooling for Thermoformed Components – typically ten weeks
  • Molds for Castings – typically twelve weeks
  • IEC 60601 testing – typically four to eight weeks

We partner with you to understand your unique problem, develop a timeline with milestones, and specify the deliverables from each party. We’ve found that setting these expectations up front results in a much better project outcome.

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