At Forclaz, all our products are dreamt up and designed in our design centre at the foot of Mont-Blanc.
They are then constructed and tested several times in the laboratory and in the field to ensure a durable product designed to match our users' needs as closely as possible.
Follow the journey of our Desert 500 backpack, from the original conception to store!
The observation phase is the very first phase in designing a product. First of all you need to be able to identify users' needs before you can meet them.
Sophie, the product manager, identifies a product need and then, together with the product engineer and designer, goes into the field to observe users and draw up specifications.
This process of observing, in real-life conditions, allows the team to test competing bags, observe users, their preferences and equipment, and further refine the specifications.
When she gets back to the office, Mélanie, the designer, produces the first sketches of the future bag. Then it's the turn of an expert to produce the very first prototype, called the "monster". This is made in the workshops, at Decathlon's mountain sports headquarters, in Passy.
The entire design team then sets off to conduct a second test, called "the field development test," accompanied by internal and external ambassadors, and hiking enthusiasts.
This involves testing the bag's basic functions and features and choosing between 2 versions.
When the team returns, it formalises the technical requirements and then Luc, the prototypist, produces a 2nd prototype.
The team then goes to China, where the bag is produced, so they can incorporate any industrial constraints into the planning process.
The final phase: product testing in Morocco. This is the most important test for the team who have been working on the project for 2 years!
Independent testers give their qualitative feedback to validate the final product: are the modifications made during the field development test successful? The testers represent future clients and any opinions they give are impartial.
When they get back, once the final modifications have been decided upon, they launch a final prototype, produced on a real production line. This product is then tested (seam strength, materials etc.)
This is followed by the manufacturing and then the marketing phase.
“Overall, it took 2 years to develop this backpack. This may seem a long time but for us it's been a mad rush!
Six months to observe, test competing products and listen to users One year to test and make the prototypes. And six months to launch the product before getting it into the shops.
We can always make small improvements because we're perfectionists and passionate about what we do but you have to make a decision at some stage.
The key to the success of this group project is experiencing things together: peace, quiet, connecting with oneself and others.”
Sophie - Product Manager Desert Trekking