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What is the Solcept Collaboration Model? What are Your Benefits from this Business Model?

Time to Read 6 min

Since our launch in 2003, we have our own clear model of how we cooperate with clients. We believe in collaboration and value creation networks. We are convinced that, over the life of the product, excellent development quality recoups its extra effort several times. In the areas where we operate, this lifetime can easily be ten or more years.

Investing in development and partnership in order to have fewer problems during the product life is not for everyone. If you think that only development costs are important, then there is no point in reading on.

If also effort and cost over product lifetime (TCO: Total Cost of Ownership) are important to you, then we have summarized here for you the basics of how we work with you, our business model:

No Lock-In: We want our Customers to Come Back for Quality, Not Because they Have To

There is a comparatively simple way for a supplier to reduce the largest cost block in development: lock-in. Lock-in means that the costs saved in the first phase are recouped over the product's lifetime. Lock-in thus leads to hidden costs. Depending on the supplier, this can be in the form of an additional margin added to the product during production and/or by selling changes at inflated prices during the product's lifetime.

In product development, the prerequisite for becoming a "victim" of such a lock-in is that in the initial development contract, you do not secure all rights to all generated intellectual property. Your service provider is then the only one who can produce and customize the device. In addition, your service provider represents a commercial cluster risk for you, as it can be bought out or disappear altogether.

With us, all intellectual property always goes to the customer. You should come back because we have done a good job, not because you have no choice. And: "no lock-in" also leads to transparent cost of the product, you decide yourself if and how to pass on the development costs (NRE: Non-Recurring Engineering costs) to the product.

Competitors: When we work for you, then exclusively

Because a long-term, sustainable partnership with you is important to us, we do not work for your competitors. Unless you want us to, of course. As we are a medium-sized engineering company, it is not necessary for us to have several competitors as clients, another advantage of our size.

Zero-Cost-of-Ownership Warranty: 5 Years against Defects and Discontinuation

For developments of complete devices or software (classical or agile) we give a 5-year warranty after the pilot series on all errors of the specified behavior and on all end-of-life (obsolescence) cases of the components used. We adjust all our work results within typically one month from your notification.

The fine print: The warranty covers defect resolution, i.e. you get a new technical data package (TDP) for your production plus the updated software and hardware data and all related documentation. In order for us to have control over the quality, the warranty expires if you have changed something yourself or if you have chosen a lower quality than the one we proposed during development. In order for us to collect the required quality data for the series, we need a say on the validation and field test phase and access to results thereof.

Quality: Wetware plus Paperware

Quality is a basic principle of our actions, and we invest a lot into it. Particularly because we know that knowledge, our core competencies, are not just in our heads, but are stored in platforms, processes, checklists and templates.

Because technical competence is an organizational competence, not a personal competence.  Organizational knowledge distinguishes us as an engineering company from recruiters who can only offer employee knowledge or experience. With us, the knowledge of the employees is exponentiated with the organizational knowledge, i.e. you get the organizational knowledge, our platform and process assets plus the experience of our employees.

Documentation & Configuration Management: More than Source Code...

We do not believe that source code and schematics are sufficient documentation for product maintenance. We believe in the importance of describing the product architecture and the chosen technical architecture separately, so that others can maintain the product. After all, if this information is only in people's heads, will it still be present in five years? Do you still know why you decided what five years ago?

A second important point seems to us to be that this documentation and, above all, the different versions for production fit together. This means that we operate a strict configuration management for all sources, documents, schemas, but also binaries and Gerber data etc.

Cross Industry Innovation: Transferring Solutions

We are asked a lot about which industries we work for, where we specialize. We don't think it would be an advantage to limit ourselves to one or a few industries. Maybe we could get into the projects a little more efficiently?

What would certainly be lost is the transfer of ideas between industries, cross industry innovation. Some solution, which is commonplace in one industry, is a real advance in another. For example, in household appliance software we have implemented control architectures that are standard elsewhere, but have resulted in a massive leap in performance here.

Networks: Work with the Best

We do not do anything that others can do better, in these cases we work together with other service providers or your specialists. This is because we believe that the most value can be created when specialists on projects join together in temporary networks to solve a specific problem.

This includes the principle that we are ready to work with the partners who have the best fit exactly for your project, not those with whom "we have always worked".

Hourly Rates: Simple Arrangements

We charge the same rates for project managers and engineers, for all experience levels, and for all functions, so we can put the work into your project and not into complicated billing schemes. We do this because:

  •  Our novices and beginners only bill 60% and 80% of their hours on client projects, respectively, which is equivalent to reduction in their hourly rate.
  • Most project managers also do developer work, which we do not want to overcharge you for.

The size of the order determines the rate, as large projects result in tighter planning and therefore higher overall capacity usage.

More information about the cost of development projects can be found also here.

Klassisch mit agiler Abwicklung

Wir machen am Anfang des Projektes eine System Design Phase, in der wir zusammen mit Ihnen wir ein detailliertes Pflichtenheft erstellen und in der Systemarchitektur die Schlüsselkomponenten und -konzepte auswählen. Diese dient einerseits als Basis für Ihre Entwicklung und andererseits als Basis für eine genaue Abschätzung des Entwicklungsaufwandes.

Dann wird das Produkt, bzw. die Software und/ oder Elektronik iterativ entwickelt, d.h. Sie bekommen nach einer ersten Phase jeden Monat eine neue Software-Version für Sie zum Testen und dazu Feedback zu geben, zusätzlich typischerweise ca. zwei bis drei Hardware-Versionen über die ganze Projektdauer.

Bei Abschluss des Projektes bekommen Sie alle Daten inkl. das mit den Änderungen während des Projektes fortlaufend aktualisierte Pflichtenheft.

Das heisst für Sie:

  • Sie bringen am Anfang des Projektes den Aufwand und die Zeit für die Review und Diskussion des Pflichtenheftes, der Spezifikation auf
  • Sie bekommen dann iterativ ("agil") jeden Monat eine Software-Version
  • Sie bekommen einige wenige Hardware-Versionen, auf denen die Software läuft (wenn wir die Elektronik für Sie entwickeln)
  • Sie können während des Projektes aufgrund dieser Versionen Ihre Anforderungen wenn nötig anpassen
  • Sie müssen sich nicht um das Projektmanagement kümmern, das übernehmen wir
  • Sie profitieren von Ihrem anfänglichen Spezifikationsaufwand, indem Sie die effizienteste Entwicklungsmethodik gewählt haben
  • Sie haben die Wahl zwischen Fixpreis oder einem Projekt nach Aufwand

Voll agil

Am Anfang des Projektes nehmen wir Ihr Lastenheft und andere Unterlagen und basieren unser erstes System Design auf diesen Unterlagen. Dann erstellen wir eine grobe Abschätzung der Grössenordnung des Aufwandes für Ihre Planung.

Daraus wir das Produkt, bzw. die Software und/ oder Elektronik iterativ entwickelt, d.h. Sie bekommen nach einer ersten Phase jeden Monat eine neue Software-Version zum Testen und um dazu Feedback zu geben. Jeden Monat diskutieren wir mit Ihnen die im nächsten Monat umzusetzende Funktionen und Änderungen. Falls es diese Änderungen erforderlich machen, bekommen Sie auch neue Version der Elektronik.

Bei Abschluss des Projektes bekommen Sie alle Daten inkl. das während des Projektes entstandene Pflichtenheft.

Das heisst für Sie:

  • Sie haben keinen Spezifikationsaufwand am Anfang des Projektes
  • Sie bekommen dann iterativ ("agil") jeden Monat eine Software-Version
  • Sie bekommen iterativ ("agil") Hardware-Versionen auf denen die Software läuft (wenn wir die Elektronik für Sie entwickeln)
  • Sie profitieren von der Möglichkeit, Ihre Anforderungen von Version zu Version zu entwickeln
  • Sie müssen sich nicht um das Projektmanagement kümmern, das übernehmen wir


Unsere Mitarbeiter, unser Team sind in Ihre Entwicklungsorganisation eingebunden und bekommen die Aufgaben von Ihrem Projektmanagement.

Die Dokumentation erfolgt nach Ihren Vorgaben, auf Wunsch auch nach unseren Prozessen.

Das heisst für Sie:

  • Sie haben direkten Zugriff auf "Ihr" Projekteam
  • Sie übernehmen das Projektmanagement des Gesamtprojektes, wir führen unser Teil-Team

Do you have any other questions? If so, contact us directly or comment your thoughts below! I will then answer them here.

Are your ready for an efficient cooperation? Contact me!

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