Introducing our Head of New Product Development
If, like we were, you’re looking for revolution, not evolution in product development, you need to do things totally differently.
To develop the new FlamePro Valiant structural fire suit, we swept away all of the industry assumptions about what a fire suit should be by putting our team of experts covering new product development, technical fabrics, and ergonomics. The result? We believe we’ve created the most advanced structural fire suit on the market.
More than a year in the making, we’ve created a suit which makes no compromises on protection, but due to its clever design and composition feels lighter and more comfortable to wear.
We wanted to introduce you to the clever people behind the range’s innovations, so in this blog you’ll meet Adrian Jaoudat, our Product Manager.
There’s not much Adrian doesn’t know about FlamePro and our sister company, ProGARM. He’s spent 10 years working for ProGARM, and the last three working on FlamePro too since it was bought by the same owners.
Starting in the warehouse on a gap year from his studies to be an architect, Adrian never returned to Poland where he was at university. Instead, he quickly worked his way up through the business.
“Solving problems is what I like to do,”
“I guess that’s why I wanted to be an architect, but I now use that problem-solving approach on new product development.”
Throughout his time with the business, Adrian has worked in Operations, Purchasing, Procurement, Quality Management, and now Product Development, with a particular focus on innovation. This detailed knowledge of every aspect of what it takes to make a garment and get it to the end user helps shape his approach.
A complex introduction to new product development
After he joined the new product development team seven years ago, the first range Adrian worked on was multi-norm waterproofs. Multi-norm products protect against a range of hazards and have to meet the specifications and standards for each of them. Not the simplest of ranges to make a start on, but this had advantages.
“I had to quickly learn about the certification process,”
“What it takes to pass each of the standards, the issues to look out for, the technical detail you need to put together, and the testing the garments have to go through.”
“Working on a multi-norm product meant I had to learn about multiple standards at once. It was a steep learning curve, but beneficial in the long-run as everything after that seemed simple!”
Making improvements to the FlamePro ranges
Adrian now heads up the team tasked with new product development (NPD) for both FlamePro and ProGARM. He studied the range and the market for 18 months before starting on the project to create the new Valiant suit.
“To me, new product development is a careful balance of understanding what the customer wants and seeing where the market is going. A bit like Henry Ford said, if he’d have given people what they asked for, he’d have come up with a faster horse.”
“We need to create products people want and need, but also spot the opportunities to come up with something genuinely new and different to fulfil that need.”
After assembling the expert team who would create the new product, comprising Adrian’s own in-house NPD team including technical fabric expert Stanley Russell, ergonomics specialist Lorraine Costello and our sales manager Reece Buchner for industry insight, Adrian stepped into the role of project manager for the new range.
Once the product was designed, Adrian used his significant experience to secure certification of the new FlamePro Valiant structural suit. It took more than 12 months – the lengthiest certification process Adrian has ever experienced. There were more than 250 tests on component parts and the garment as a whole, to ensure that it meets or exceeds all of the necessary criteria.
So is that job done for Adrian now the new range has been launched?
“Not at all,”
“We’re only just getting started! Watch this space for a whole spectrum of new product launches.”
A giant leap forward in structural fire suits
The team didn’t let us down. FlamePro’s new generation of FlamePro structural suit represents a huge leap forward.
To read more about Valiant and find the links to the datasheets about it, visit the product page.
To discuss your requirements, give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1332 341030.