5 Critical Partner Selection Criteria when Embarking on a Complex Motor Development Project

New motor design projects require a significant investment of time and talent. They require expertise in electromagnetic design, pre- and post-production tooling, process flow, and quality systems. Partnering with the right companies to integrate all these components is crucial. This article covers the five critical criteria for selecting the right partners for a new motor design project.

1. Experience

Experience is crucial in navigating complex projects such as starting a new motor production line. Initially, it might seem logical to choose a partner you've worked with before. While this can be a good starting point, a thorough analysis of their past performance is essential. Did they meet specifications and complete projects on time and within budget? If you haven't worked with a prospective partner before, consider their experience with similar projects in your industry. Investigate their successes and failures and ask for references to verify their previous work. Reviewing their successful projects will help you match their expertise to the scope of your project.

2. Flexibility

Flexibility is another crucial criterion. Will the potential partner collaborate with you, or do they have a rigid process? Can they provide various options to meet the project requirements? A good partner will propose how they could proceed to meet your needs and work with your team to make necessary adjustments. Look for a partner who seeks to understand the nuances of your business style and adapts accordingly.

3. Commitment

Commitment to the partnership and the project is paramount. Does the potential partner demonstrate a willingness to invest time, funds, or even samples in the project? How committed are they to meeting project specifications? Do they clearly communicate issues related to delays, specification misses, or budget problems? How they deliver information about the project's status—good, bad, or ugly—reveals their commitment to a successful relationship.

4. Responsiveness

How a potential partner responds to your initial inquiries is a good indicator of their future responsiveness. The timeliness and thoroughness of their response during the proposal stage can foreshadow the project's success or failure. Are they utilizing their experience to offer guidance and suggestions for the benefit of the project, or are they simply responding to your team's specific questions? A collaborative partner should provide proactive suggestions and make efforts to improve the product design before they are even asked.

5. Honesty

It could be a red flag if a potential partner agrees to all your requests without any pushback. This may be a sign that a company is either avoiding the truth about the limits of its capabilities or the true complexity and potential risks associated with the project. You should receive honest feedback about project costs, risks, and timelines from the beginning.

Another red flag is if the supplier quickly reduces prices or, worse, shortens the development schedule when concerns about costs or timelines arise. When a cost reduction is requested, does the potential partner simply accept, or do they counter with a legitimate request to adjust lead times or specifications to help them achieve the target price? While a price reduction can be positive, the willingness to do so without a counter-adjustment may indicate an initially inflated or unsustainable price that will continue to increase over time. If a supplier can’t be honest with you about price or schedule, what else may they hide as the project progresses?


Significant projects, such as ground-up motor designs, require careful partner choice considerations. Experience, flexibility, commitment, responsiveness, and honesty are the critical criteria for selecting the best partner to ensure your project's success. By evaluating potential partners against these criteria, you can find a collaborator who will help you achieve a successful and efficient motor development project.

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