Sunday, March 23, 2008

Product Research & Development

As the Heaven Fresh international distribution network is growing, being a Canadian company we often get requests from partners and customers around the globe  for 'Made in Canada' products.  Besides that I believe that in consumer product business, having the ability to develop new and cutting edge products is one of the most crucial factors to stay ahead of the competition. Therefore, we have been thinking about starting a full fledged R&D department to design and develop Heaven Fresh products from scratch for quite some time now.  We recently hired Marvin Gui to establish and manage Heaven Fresh R&D department. Marvin, with a PhD in 'air conditioning and cryogenics',  has worked with Samsung  Electronics to develop air purification products and has the passion for research.  Passion can be the single most important ingredient for doing research, especially working with a micro-multinational with limited time, financing and resources. Having been there, I personally know that an R&D job can be a nerve wrecking experience, but what's going to test Marvin's limits at Heaven Fresh is the fact that we do not have adequate financing for R&D including his salary.  For the most part, we will be counting on the assistance from the government of Canada through IRAP (Industrial research assistance program) and SRED (Scientific research and experimental development) tax credits.  We, as a company and  particularly Marvin, will be under the gun to make swift progress to be able to continue getting the assistance to keep the R&D going.  He's well aware of the pressure and is excited to take this challenge on. From talking to him it looks like he definitely has the resilience to pull it off successfully. I am also very confident that we will have 'Made in Canada' products  as part of the Heaven Fresh product line within a year or so.

Initially we will be concentrating on designing and building product proto types, but our ultimate goal is to manufacture the products right here in Canada.  It might sound like a crazy idea to even be thinking about manufacturing in Canada when much of the existing manufacturing is moving to other countries from North America.  There are many benefits to manufacturing products here in Canada while the biggest obvious downside is the manufacturing cost. However, I believe that the low cost manufacturing here in Canada is possible and the global increase in wages, fluctuations in currencies and the rise in transportation costs will make it most more cost effective to produce product here in North America. Therefore, as part of our product development efforts, we will be paying a lot of attention to a design strategy for achieving low cost 'Made in Canada' products.