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Rifton Product Development

May 24, 2011 by Kirk Wareham

Getting Feedback is the First Step in Product Design

Rifton Equipment places great value on product design and development. It is our intent to design products that are truly needed, and to design them in a way that makes them functional, safe, durable, intuitive to use, aesthetically pleasing, and affordable.

A blue Rifton Gait Trainer featuring a simple trunk support shows the product design and development of the past

Therapists and caregivers are a goldmine of design information; they are the ones working in the field every day, and they know what adaptive equipment their clients need. It is an understatement to say that we value their input. We truly appreciate it and depend on it. It is the primary factor that drives our product design process.

Many suggestions, wishes, and ideas come via phone calls between our customers and our account managers. Other suggestions we receive at trade shows, in-services, and field visits. We carefully record them all, sorting them by product and feature. The entire product design input file is then reviewed regularly by management to determine our Design Queue. The more suggestions we receive for a given item or feature, the higher it moves on our Design Queue.

Product Design: From Product to Manufacturing

When a product design and development team finishes their previous project and becomes available, we assign them the top project on the Queue.A pink Rifton Gait Trainer featuring prompts for every part of the body shows the new product design and development manufacturing process includes therapists requests The team is charged with the challenging task of turning a great idea into a physical reality. We often invite therapists to visit Rifton to collaborate on the actual design. Prototypes are field-tested to insure that the product does what it was intended to do.

Unfortunately, the reality is that our design resources are limited, and we receive many more suggestions than we could ever respond to. This is why it might sometimes appear that we are unresponsive to design ideas. But be reassured that every product design idea is heard and given careful consideration, even if the solution takes longer than either of us would like, or if in the end we cannot manage it at all.

So please . . . keep the suggestions coming. We depend on them.

Great Quotes on Product Design

“The ideal product weighs 2 ounces, costs $1.00, never needs maintenance, and lasts forever.” –Adrienne Bergen

“A perfect design is one from which nothing more can be taken away.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible.” –Freeman Dyson

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius–and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” –Albert Einstein

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Reply by Chris Cruz Cooper on December 19, 2012 at 7:27 PM

I just did a demo of the tram for a client of mine with muscular dystrophy and absolutely love this product….if it doesn’t get design awards it should . Your company is extremely responsive to client and therapist feedback. I have been in pediatrics for 40 years as a therapist and have watched you grow…thank you for all your work in providing quality equipment….now for the suggestion…my client felt safe and secure but would have liked to be in charge of the lift himself…he could transfer independently again if he could reach the controls…a possible option….he was able to place the straps independently but the controls were a few inches out of reach….just another idea for the pile.

Reply by Elena Noble, MPT on December 20, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Thanks so much for the comment. We’re pleased the TRAM worked well for your client, and we’re always glad to get design suggestions. Be assured that our design team will take note.