Awards Also Recognize Great Clients
We recently had some success I wanted to share. A product we built with WARN won a serious award at this year’s SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) show. While going digital for 2020, SEMA remains the trade show for aftermarket vehicle manufacturers, and winning an award is a very big deal. It’s a show with thousands of vendors and tens of thousands of products!
Here’s the announcement.
It begins with WARN’s brand equity: they are the best at what they do — a world class manufacturer of winching technology. And while the product is mechanical, WARN recognizes their audience has moved into the digital age. This recognition was a critical first step towards consideration of future states around their products. WARN’s management had the forethought to look beyond the success of their current product lines and market dominance into an unknown future and ask tough questions about how their users wanted to interact with their products.
These questions ultimately led them to Metal Toad, and we began a robust discovery and UX effort. Again, this is an example of WARN as a great client because they recognized that while their in-house engineering talent knew everything about winch design and manufacturing, they didn’t necessarily understand potential consumer paths around the digital operation of their products!
Working with Metal Toad’s UX team — using a high-fidelity approach — meant the final outcome was able to address key market and customer needs at a granular level. This was not engineering taking guesses about what people wanted. It was a focused and iterative approach to uncover what the ideal product outcome should be.
While this may sound pretty familiar to some people, WARN is a 100 year old company whose winches were traditionally run using an eclectic cable mechanism attached to the machine. Change doesn’t come easy to any organization, much less to one who has been at the top of their game for a century!
At the conclusion of the UX phase, WARN felt confident the product being developed would be a consumer grade solution worthy of their brand name. The work was challenging for both sides; new partners, new ideas, and new outcomes often create friction, but Metal Toad is adept at turning that heat into productivity. Our shoulder to shoulder approach and agile methodology means collaboration underpins every aspect of our work with clients.
With the UX plan in hand, Metal Toad collaborated with WARN on a robust, multi-phased development effort. This is incredibly important because unlike other manufacturers who might be inclined to rush a product to market, WARN moved with firm intentionality. They wanted to understand the process of software development and implementation. They wanted to ensure there was a strong transfer of knowledge and that the firmware, hardware, and software deltas intersected in such a manner that a cohesive solution was inevitable — not surprising.
And as this award demonstrates, that commitment paid off!
The HUB is robust, quick, works across IOS and Android and, most importantly, gives consumers a new product category that could radically alter the way they interact with a core piece of off-road technology.
In the process, Metal Toad gained a valuable new client experience and the pleasure of collaborating with a team of executives, engineers, and designers who were working together towards a well-defined common goal; all the hallmarks of a good project!