How justified is the Fear of Custom Profiles?

    7 Minuten
    May 22, 2023

    "Have fun presenting that to the boss," they said. "You'll never get it past the old penny-pincher, and we're running out of time." Richard can still hear the amused voices of his colleagues warning him when he told them about his innovation. And maybe this time the experienced product developer really shouldn't have jumped the gun to claim that he’d find a solution. But finding a way to improve their current setup was just too tempting. However, it quickly became clear that conventional components and manufacturing processes wouldn’t get him very far when it came to updating the body of the new electric car.

    You probably already guessed what this conversation was about: custom profiles - always a hot topic of discussion, based on a certain fear of them eating up time and money. But before we get into these reservations about custom profiles, let's keep reading and find out how things are going with Richard and his colleagues in product development at a certain well-known car manufacturer:

    The typical Custom Profile Conversation

    “We need something that reduces the assembly weight, and that the parts can be attached to,” Richard explained to colleagues. “Something that’s light, strong and can be assembled quickly.”

    "But we can't get all the functions in one rectangular profile," says a young colleague.

    "That's right, we need a complex cross-section." Richard was convinced. In the course of his research, he’d come across steel roll-formed profiles: “We're ditching the standard profile and relying on a bespoke roll-formed profile. This way we can be both dimensionally accurate and, with the amount of meters we’ll be producing, it’ll also be cost-effective.”

    "Well, have fun presenting that to the boss" Richard can’t get his colleague’s sarcastic, cautionary words out of his head. Maybe it really would be better to look around for other options. After all, there were moments during his research where Richard had a few reservations himself.  But no - in the end, he was absolutely convinced that custom profiles were the way to go. Now, however, he’s got to convince his boss of the same thing, and that’ll be no easy feat. If only he could find just a few more solid, convincing arguments from others to back him up. With a sigh, Richard opens his laptop and Googles "why there’s no need to fear custom profiles”...

    Fear of Custom Profiles: Where does the Skepticism come from? 

    While the prospect of this ideal, bespoke solution should have Richard's development department popping the champagne corks, the reality is that product developers often shy away from custom profiles. The reasons for this are varied:

    • Time Waster: 
      Custom profiles are custom-made, and as with any product being made to order costs time and - if the result doesn’t live up to expectations - money. In this case, the buyer carries the larger burden of the risk here. 
    • Money Pit:
      No one likes to shovel company money into a bottomless pit. Since custom profiles are based on individual requirements, budgetary expenses are more difficult to estimate. The risk of an unexpected jump in costs makes many decision-makers shy away.  
    • False Promises:
      Whatever you want, you got it -  no problem! Many manufacturers promise to be able to implement any individual wish and requirement without being able to deliver. With this kind of partner, any project is, of course, doomed to failure.
    • Long Wait Times:
      Off-the-shelf products can be installed directly and processed quickly, as they are often already available. Bespoke solutions, on the other hand, must first be designed, tested and then specially manufactured. If developers are under time pressure, custom profiles are often hastily removed from the list of possible options.
    • Lack of Exclusivity:
      Custom profiles remain a product of the profile manufacturer, and as such could also be sold to other interested parties. This would indeed be a problem for the customer, since his development effort could no longer be used as a competitive advantage.


    And of course, Richard's boss will have some of these reasons up his sleeve and ready to throw at him. But our intrepid product developer is prepared…

    Fact-Checking Reservations about Custom Profiles 

    So should product developers stay away from custom profiles? Unsurprisingly, as a manufacturer of custom profiles, we believe that the benefits far outweigh the potential downsides. 

    Nevertheless, we want to take the time to subject each of these arguments that are frequently put forward to a detailed examination. We can do this from the perspective of an experienced provider with multiple successful projects under our belt, and many valuable insights gathered along the way.

    Fact Check #1: Time Waster?

    It’s true that when developing a new product, you have to budget more time for a bespoke profile than for a standard profile. However, this additional effort is a sensible initial investment, because bespoke profiles save time and money by reducing build times, increasing the speed of production, and removing potential build errors by being a multi-functional,  semi-finished, high tolerance, consistent component. Designers examine all possibilities and risks when designing a custom profile. By looking at completely different perspectives they can create a product with significantly more functions than something bought off-the-shelf. 

    If a clear competitive advantage is achieved with the help of custom profiles, companies can continue to develop subsequent product generations with extremely high efficiency, building on a comfortable foundation of experience. The time loss from the starting phase should be made up for twice or three times over.

    Fact Check #2: Money Pit?

    When it comes to innovation and the development of new products, there’s always a risk of cost overruns due to a lack of comparative values. However, by running a detailed  simulation in advance, we at Welser can quantify the effort for setup and tools with relative high accuracy, and create a realistic cost estimate.

    Additionally we have found that while custom profiles sometimes may initially appear relatively expensive, in the long term they prove to be more cost-efficient thanks to optimized processes and functionality.

    Fact Check #3: False Promises

    You’ll find false promises wherever companies underestimate the challenges and are desperate to sell something. In any case, this isn’t a fair argument for the categorical rejection of custom profiles. Reputable providers, however, should respond to this justified caution with maximum transparency.

    A competent manufacturer of custom profiles should honestly present the possibilities associated with their products and services to their customers, and work in close cooperation with them from the development process onwards. With 360 years of experience building strong customer relationships, Welser has learned the value of directness and clarity when it comes to working with clients. 

    Fact Check #4: Wait Times?

    New developments will of course take some time at the outset.

    However, as soon as a new profile has been produced, it can easily be developed into a separate stock product and delivered on time via reliable suppliers - depending on requirements and needs.

    Fact Check #5: Exclusivity

    When a bespoke or custom profile has been designed and developed with a customer, there are occasionally producers who would then sell the design to anyone on the open market. However, this is certainly not always the case, and one should always check the policies of the specific manufacturer, rather than avoid the benefits of custom profiles all together. 

    For example, when developing a profile with Welser, the exclusive IP of the profile design remains with the customer, and Welser upholds that exclusivity by not selling that profile to anyone else.

    7 Tips for quick & efficient Production of Custom Profiles 

    As we work with custom profiles day in and day out, I would like to share these tips with you to make the use of special profiles as profitable as possible:

    1. Involve Experts Early 
      Involve experts for custom profiles in your project right from the start. You’ll benefit from their know-how and practical experience and ensure the most cost-efficient implementation.
    2. Use Roll Forming 
      Roll forming offers almost endless possibilities for covering individual profile requirements. Let experts advise you and discover innovative solutions and new product variations.
    3. Compare the Full Cost
      Include all cost items in your comparative calculation, from the design to the installation of a profile. Because the advantage of roll forming is, among other things, that several process steps can be carried out on one system and finishing work can be flexibly integrated. 
    4. Look Out for the Manufacturing Quality 
      The repeatability of roll forming ensures consistently high product quality, even when producing larger quantities. This eliminates the need for time-consuming and costly profile optimization afterwards.
    5. Test Designs Digitally  
      For an optimal use of resources, a digital simulation is recommended before the creation of the physical prototype. Our Welser Creator offers comprehensive animation options for every project phase - from kickoff to just before production.
    6. Look Into Your Provider  
      A lot of the hassle associated with custom profiles is due to the way in which unprofessional or limited professional providers operate. Before you decide on a project partner, you need to check whether they can really provide the necessary certificates, meaningful references, and that they have the relevant market experience.
    7. Profile Development is a Team Effort 
      Work closely with your project partner: the optimal creation of a bespoke custom profile requires the skills of all parties involved, from the customer's innovative product ideas to the manufacturer's specific expertise on their implementation.

    Conclusion: With Welser, you can count on a tailor-made Custom Profile Solution 

    he development of new products is always a challenge, and as with any challenge, it comes with doubts. Custom profiles are no exception. With an experienced profiler at your side, however, these versatile design wonders will quickly give you a real competitive edge, because roll-formed custom profiles can perfectly meet your individual requirements. With the right know-how, they are easy and cost-effective to implement, and can be easily mass-produced once the setup is complete.

    "We’re gonna get our custom profile!" Richard excitedly announces to his astonished colleagues as he bursts into the office, beaming with joy. 

    Still unsure whether a custom profile is the right solution for you? Be like Richard, and ask our experts. We're here to help.

    Questions? Talk to us and let us realize your ideas. Contact us now!  

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