When it comes time to select a new product platform, there’s one question that always, invariably jumps to the forefront. COTS (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf) vs ODM (Original-Design-Manufacturer) developed systems. Often, to a software or project designer, the most simple path forward is to identify product goals and requirements, and find a system that is already available that fits those needs well enough. This is part of the inherent value in COTS systems – you are absolutely guaranteed to get what you see listed from the system in question.
However, selecting a COTS system is often not the most productive, cost effective path forward to achieving everything you want from your system. Motherboards may be limited and feature only some of the processing power or input/output options designers would prefer to have, necessitating the selection of a higher-cost, higher-grade base device, or leaving off some desired function.
An ODM Solution can provide everything needed at a surprisingly affordable and attainable rate. Because you’re not settling on halfway solutions, more concern can be paid to ideas like product lifecycle, which often get lost in the wash of COTS products and can cost years of market presence and profitability. And of course being able to hand-pick the components and features that are most important to you and your clients means a better chance to truly impress in a tight market space with ODM in a way that other supplier methods can’t match.
What are some of the ways an ODM system can eclipse and outperform a COTS option:
1: Product Performance: This goes without saying. When you work with an ODM, you have absolute control of the components that go into your device, you have absolute control of the performance, and you can rest assured of the results.
2: Product Availability: Just because you’ve chosen to buy a product this quarter doesn’t mean it’s going to be available next quarter. Such is the life with COTS products that appear and disappear from availability suddenly. ODM products, on the other hand, are guaranteed to be available to you for years – no need to scramble for new options or suddenly recertify.
3: Product Price: This one might seem counter-intuitive – there’s no way a custom manufactured ODM product can be as affordable as a ready-made product, right? Wrong. By starting with a standard base, and then optimizing with just the components you want, an ODM product can be even more affordable than some ready-made commercial options. And certainly more cost effective, with no wasted budget on unwanted components.