ENTERING NEW MARKETS
EartH2O is an extremely forward-thinking organization. They produce bottled water, which comes from a natural spring right here in Central Oregon. They've grown at a rapid pace since new ownership took over several years ago and there's no pausing their upward climb. Their CEO came to us looking to develop their first consumer product. They bottle water for delivery across the area and had calculated that if they were to design and manufacture a proprietary water cooler, they could significantly increase their bottom line. Few bottled water companies provide both the bottled water and the product that distibutes the water to the user, so in a major effort to increase profits, they set out to provide their customers with both.
This project was extremely unique for us. We didn't want to set out developing a product for EartH2O without knowing the manufacturing limitations first. As we're extremely familiar with, we needed to become experts within the water cooler industry to begin conceptualizing a successful consumer product. So, before the concept phase could commence, we spent the first part of the project locating and talking with overseas manufacturers of water coolers. We wanted to know what was possible within existing manufacturing standards for the industry, so as not to put our client in a postion of needing to reinvent manufacturing processes, while also developing their first consumer product. Once we felt comfortable with the knowledge we had gained during this exploratory period, we presented the facts and moved on to the fun part.
EartH2O figured that this process would be more simplistic for their organization, as compared to most, simply because they already have the logistics inherently set up within their business to deliver not only the bottled water to their customers, but also the new water coolers. By utilizing their delivery trucks and drivers, they would be able to drop off water coolers during water bottle delivery and pick up any water coolers that might need maintenance at the same time. This would obviously streamline the integration of the product into their already existing market, and keep implementation costs to a minimum. They would also be able to utilize their delivery drivers as setup and maintenance providers for the water coolers, as well as front-facing sales representatives for issues that may arise with the product, or simply to provide a client with a cooler if they were interested. After EartH2O explained their ideas and goals for the product with us, we set the bar high and reached to achieve it.
The concept phase for a product of this size and scope was also unique for us. It's not often that we get the opportunity to work on something that requires insite from so many different disciplines. We wanted to get input, not only from consumers or potential customers, but also electrical engineers, packaging engineers, industrial designers, design researchers, and UI/UX designers. We needed deep insight into what form factor would fit well into homes as well as offices and warehouses. We wanted this product to fit into as versatile of an environment as possible. We wanted it to stand elegantly in the corner of your kitchen, fit seemlessly into any office space, or tuck out of the way in an industrial setting. We generated concept after concept, working with expert after expert, and finally presented finalized concepts.
After honing concepts into a final one, we set our sights on prototyping and production. We knew it would be no small feat to get the prototype to look like the concept and function as intended, so we wanted to get working on this earlier in the project than normal. Just about every process we could think of would be necessary for the production of a prototpye, from 3D printing to CNC machinining to short run PCB's, we would cover just about all of them. Along with that came consulting with an even wider breadth of experts, from machinists to rapid prototyping service vendors. We worked with as many experts as we could to assure that every base was covered, so that we could develop one of the best water coolers ever created. It was an expansive project, but our team, as well as EartH2O's, learned how to bring a game-changing product to this particular market.