Product Development

Product Development People and Process

Posted June 21, 2017

How Do They Make That? 

An Inside Look at the West Paw New Product Design Process

Before the designers at West Paw set out to create the "next big thing", which will hopefully become an award-winner, they do a lot of legwork. . .with the help of four-legged dogs of course, but more about that later. Below is a fun and informative look at how it all comes together to become dog's next best friend. 




Inspiration Station:

First, we start with a question--what would a dog love or need that's not currently available for them? Or if it is, how can we make it better--safer, more durable and less impactful on the environment? Some may call this Market Research, we call it wanting to make engaging and safe products for dogs.

We then check the feasibility of sourcing materials in the United States, conduct production time studies, and do a Cost Benefit Analysis. Are you asleep yet? But seriously, a lot goes into making a decision that's impacting people's pets, our staff of 75 people, and the environment.

What Happens Next?

If the product idea passes our initial Go/No-Go processes, our Designers get to work designing prototypes while our Purchaser gets busy sourcing materials from vendors around the US. 

Now the Fun Part. . .

Dogs, dogs, and more dogs. We use Bozeman-based canines (as well as some of our own dogs) to test the durability, safety, fun and/or comfort of our new design. This pack of pups is called the "Chew Squad". If the product punctures or becomes in any way impaired, back to the drawing board we go. Some products have been scrapped altogether because if it's not good for our dogs, it's not gonna make it to our production floor. 

However, if the product passes the chew squad's chompers, and we've successfully developed a sustainable manufacturing method to make the products, all systems are a-go. 

Lights! Camera! Action!

Now we recruit dogs for our catalog and take lots of adorable pictures and videos of them playing with our toys or napping on our beds. We create some fun social media posts to introduce the product and send out email messaging to alert dog owners that their dog's new best friend has arrived at a store near them.

West Paw World-wide:

We then begin shipping to pet stores around the world from our facility in Bozeman, Montana. And that is where the real joy begins for us, watching you and your dogs enjoy West Paw's products.

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