New product development is an integral part of every business. It is essential for the growth of the business and driving profits. Developing a new product pushes every business into new markets, regardless of the size of such a company.
In this article, we will look at the challenges faced by companies at the trial production stage and how rapid prototyping companies can help. But before then, let’s briefly talk about the stages involved in new product development.
Stages of Product Development
There are six essential stages in the development of new products. Every step has its importance and must be treated as such. Ensuring the proper flow of operations within the product development cycle ensures the successful launching of the product.
The steps include:
- Idea. This is the first and very essential step in the product life cycle. The generation of ideas and concepts is the bedrock of every production process. It is necessary first to define the intended concept of your product. This will help determine the feasibility of the product coming into existence.
- Design. The prototype design stage in product development helps to tackle the issue of complexity. Whenever the idea begins to become bogus, there is the need for concrete design. This stage projects the intended product functioning. That way, the likelihood of confusion at the remaining steps is significantly reduced. Most product designs involve a detailed sketch, including labels and specifications for easy manufacturing.
- Prototyping. This is another crucial stage that helps to create products used as samples before mass production. Every business must understand that not all products make it from the idea stage to production. Prototyping helps to test different aspects of the products and ensure acceptability with potential consumers. Prototype companies provide a seamless process with various machining methods. The procedures employed often depend on the type of intended product.
- Market Testing. The target market testing or consumer trials helps your audience get a closer feel of your product. The prototypes developed initially are taken to customers to evaluate how viable the product is and the effectiveness of the marketing strategy. Test engineers begin the testing process, followed by the target group. The overall aim is to see if there are changes to be made.
- Trial order. If satisfied with the turnout of the prototype, you may need to send it out to a broader target audience. One prototyping session may not be enough. Low volume production of trial samples is also essential. This is not the final stage of product development. Therefore, it involves the production of small amounts of models.
- Batch manufacturing. After market testing and gathering every information and consumer feedback, manufacturers can make changes to products. Only after making these changes will the time be suitable for large-scale production. The batch manufacturing stage shows that the business is ready to release the manufactured product into the marketplace.
The Embarrassment from Prototype to Trial Order
The trial order process is one of the most challenging steps in product development. This step is marred with several anomalies and requires product developers to make the right decisions.
Here, let’s discuss some of the significant challenges business owners face, from prototype manufacturing to trial order. These include the following:
Problem with Quantity
Trial orders in rapid prototyping often require hundreds of pieces of samples. This is not suitable in an extensive array of situations. For example, let’s look at the injection molding process – the mold tool used in this process is often costly. Sometimes, it usually goes over the budget of the product developer.
Many times that is not the only issue. The life expectancy of these machines is only a little bit over 1,000,000 cycles. Therefore, many traditional molding manufacturers often ask for batch orders. Suppose you only need to create trial orders with no guarantee of batch manufacturing. In that case, the molder will not pay better attention to your order.
Conventional manufacturing methods are marked by the inability to turn in products as quickly as possible. A long production list in their schedule. While trial orders always need to be sent out as early as possible so that there won’t be a delay in the next steps of launching the product.
However, achieving this becomes difficult based on the production schedule of the specific manufacturing partners. In many cases, there are many batch orders within the production schedule. In such cases, manufacturers tend to focus more on batch manufacturing. This would take a longer time, and you may not get your orders as quickly as you’d expect.
The Advantages of Prototyping Companies
Rapid prototyping companies help to tackle the embarrassment issue and get things flowing from prototype to trial production. These companies offer the following manufacturing advantages:
Most manufacturing processes, such as injection molding, take a lot of time. Setting everything up, if not done properly, may eventually delay product launch. In the manufacturing world, getting products to market fast is usually the goal.
Prototype manufacturing companies help you to reduce the time taken to produce a part. With this, you have more time to accomplish market testing and other business goals. Thus, giving you valuable time to launch your product.
Low Volume Acceptable
Most prototyping companies focus on low-volume production, which is the bedrock of their existence. After creating prototypes for the new product ideas, they expect that there might be changes.
They are always ready to make those changes in the same light, getting ready for trial production. Trial production usually involves a few hundred units, which these companies are well-equipped for. More so, the production schedule usually contains similar low-volume batches. Therefore, there will likely be no delay in the production of your trial samples.
Reducing cost is another great advantage of using prototyping companies for your trial production needs. With rapid prototyping, you have a lot more control over the costs of the production process.
In recent years, these prices have gone pretty low despite the quality of end products getting better. Rapid prototyping ensures reduced material and machining costs to make the profit margins even higher.
Finally, rapid prototyping companies do not leave you on your own after taking your order. Instead, they remain in touch with you to keep you on tabs with the on-goings of the process. Also, they advise on the possible ways of improving your product and ensuring improved quality.
Getting a product idea is challenging. Even more challenging is adequately getting the product to the market within the desired period. Rapid prototyping companies help to avoid embarrassment during the prototyping and trial production stages of product development. They offer many advantages and should be your first-line option for low-volume production.