Getting your product manufactured is one of the trickier parts in the journey of getting your idea to market. You can do all of the research and you can even learn to design it yourself but it’s highly unlikely that you have the facilities to manufacture it yourself.
This is where you have to hand over the reins to someone else. This can be difficult, especially if you’re particularly attached to the project. Therefore, it’s important that you find a manufacturer that not only can create the product that you want, but to find a manufacturer that you can trust.
This article comes from our free 5500 word in-depth guide ”Idea to Product – The Complete Guide to Getting Your Product to Market”. The guide goes through everything you’ll need to take your product from a gem of an idea, through to a final marketable product, including everything you read in this article. If you’re on your journey, you can download it for free, here.
When you have a validated idea, (i.e. an idea that you have researched and identified as feasible and sellable) you’ll need to know how to get it manufactured. Assuming you have an idea of which materials your product will need to be manufactured from, your simplest method is to get in touch with potential manufacturers that offer said services.
Even if you don’t have any 3D designs or specifications, a potential manufacturer will be able to help you with the process. At MRT, we’re often approached in this way and we use our experienced technical team to work in partnership with companies to develop manufactureable casting designs from scratch. We often prefer this process, as it allows us to use our manufacturing experience to get you the most from your product and the chosen materials.
Upon completing design for manufacture, it’s time to get into prototyping. Before, during and after design, you’ll be doing plenty of prototyping. It’s an on-going task that will last the whole length of the product development process. Prototyping will validate your research and ideas and allow you to have a real product to test and evaluate. Whilst 3D modelling on a computer is effective, there’s no substitute for physically holding the product in your hand and evaluating everything about it with a critical eye.
Many manufacturers will be happy to supply preliminary prototypes. This allows you to feel the product, but it also allows you to sample the manufacturer’s abilities. Take these prototypes as a sign of the manufacturer’s abilities.
When choosing a manufacturer, there are a number of different aspects to consider, not just the quality of the prototypes supplied. You’ll need to weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of overseas vs domestic manufacture as well as what’s important to you in added benefits. We outline everything you need to know about the individual benefits that manufacturers might offer in our complete guide.
An often unforeseen cost of manufacture is “tooling” or “tool making”. Manufacturing processes, including metal casting, are complicated operations. Each product is different to the last and there are no two products that are manufactured in exactly the same way. This means that each and every manufacturing process needs to be tailored for that specific product. This is where tool making comes in. Tool making is the creation of bespoke and specific tools that are used during the manufacture of an item. This can be anything from the tools needed to produce the item through to tools required for testing methods.
This is often an up-front cost of manufacture, so don’t forget to factor this into any forecasts. Manufacturers should not try and hide this cost from you and should be open about how much they expect it to cost you.
Next you’ll need to settle on a manufacturing schedule. Do you want your product to be manufactured in batches? Do you need storage for the items? For example, we offer Kanban delivery for our clients. This is a form of “just in time” delivery. It delivers stock to your warehouse just before you run out. Perfect for lean business practices or smaller warehousing facilities. Once you have a manufacturing partner selected, they’ll work through your logistical needs to suit your business.
For more in-depth information on this, and the whole product creation cycle, download our free guide “From Idea to Product – The Complete Guide to Getting Your Product to Market”.