A resilient and dependable companion whatever the incident – that is what the project team led by project manager Moritz and product manager Kent aimed to develop for our customers. And no sooner said than done: A few weeks ago WEINMANN Emergency added RESCUE-PACK Plus to its product portfolio. An emergency backpack with numerous details that facilitate intuitive operation and optimum workflow support in emergency medicine. Our two guests discussed the development phase during the interview:
What were you responsible for during the development phase?
Moritz: My role was that of project manager, in other words I was mainly responsible for the planning, coordination, and moderation in the project team. Together with purchasing, I was also the point of contact with our cooperation partners. So in short, my job was to make sure the project gained traction.
Kent: A large part of my work on the RESCUE-PACK Plus actually started before the development phase itself. I discussed with the users of our devices their wishes and needs. From these we developed use cases. Use cases are descriptions of the desired activities with the product. On the basis of these use cases, we produced an initial product vision which we have been constantly fine-tuning. From this we developed a requirements profile, which was passed onto Moritz for him to implement. During the development process, I was brought up to speed on the development results and assessed these from a user perspective.
What form does the product development process take?
Moritz: There are four phases in all: Order clarification, concept phase, implementation phase, and design transfer. In the initial phase we had the ideation and checked the cost-effectiveness. The second phase involved devising and assessing concepts as well as developing functional models. In the implementation phase we developed prototypes and verified these. In the design transfer we then handed over the development results to production.
Kent: The concept phase was particularly interesting: Here we presented samples to several user groups. They had to use these samples to complete certain tasks. We wanted to find out whether we met expectations in terms of operability and the functional scope. The groups included users from the emergency medical services, a resuscitation team, and offshore rescue. We ran the exercise several times with three different development versions to obtain an optimum result.
How many people make up the team working on the new emergency backpack?
Moritz: If you only count the people that were there during the hot phase with each weekly meeting, then you’ve got about 10 people. These include project manager, product manager, service product manager, quality manager, technical editor, marketing manager, purchaser, developer, regulatory affairs, tester, the ME team… I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone.
Kent: It was also great that we managed to work together so closely with the system architects. We’ve therefore always been close to the devices that were ultimately involved. We also have to make sure the WEINMANN devices operate flawlessly in the RESCUE-PACK Plus. So the RESCUE-PACK Plus is the only emergency backpack where we really checked this was the case!
What was your personal highlight in the project?
Moritz: The moment we had the backpack on the table for the very first time. I mean the backpack with all the components.
Kent: That was mine too! And, besides that, when we tested the usability and prospective users said that the concept of the RESCUE-PACK Plus worked and they would happily use it.
Did you also face challenges at times?
Moritz: You come across challenges with any project. For me one issue was how to bring together all the employees involved. And then you have the fact that users can choose from three devices that they can use in the backpack. This makes it much more complex to develop the right solution and to document everything clearly internally.
Kent: It was also challenging to incorporate something solid like the holder into something soft like the backpack. You always think it’s going to be easy, but the opposite’s the case.
Moritz: Absolutely. The holder forms the heart of the emergency backpack. Above all, it has to be strong in case someone happens to drop the backpack. The holder must also be user-friendly and mustn’t weigh too much. We thought long and hard about it.
Kent: After several workshops we finally produced a really neat solution, which is flexible yet also allows the devices to be secured firmly.
What is the USP of the RESCUE-PACK Plus?
Kent: The slogan actually says it all: More than just a backpack. Specifically, this means that the backpack not only transports the device, but thanks to its design optimally incorporates the operation of the devices and the administration of oxygen during the emergency response. Another important point is the integrated charging interface that allows devices to be charged in the RESCUE-PACK Plus. The devices are therefore ready to use at any time.
What do you personally really like about the RESCUE-PACK Plus?
Moritz: Definitely, the integration of the holder in the rucksack. It’s really cool that it’s so easy to secure the device in the holder and it’s also so strong.
Kent: As a paramedic I find it practical and comfortable to carry the ventilator, the oxygen, and the accessories on my back. It’s also cool that we’ve been bold enough to place the WEINMANN symbol so prominently on the backpack. I can well imagine we’ll be seeing a lot more of it in future.