You can choose to prototype in-house or outsource the work to a third party. For large corporations that can leverage the power of scale, doing the work in-house is a viable alternative. Such businesses have likely already built deep expertise internally that they can apply to new projects.
However, for small and medium-sized companies, outsourcing is probably the most realistic approach in order to save time and money. A specialized prototyping and CNC manufacturing organization has already developed proficiency and can execute the task at hand with precision.
Nevertheless, savings are never guaranteed and even when you do spend less by outsourcing, the amount of savings you realize will depend as much on you as it does on the prototyping service provider. The following are some of the ways you can stop on top of your outsourcing expenses and ensure you are getting optimal value for money.
By its very definition, a prototype is an early version of the product that you then subject to the market with the intent of gathering user feedback. This would be used to develop a final market-ready version. While the prototype is effectively a trial, you want it to be as close as possible in form and function to the final product.
Failure to do this will mean having to do multiple prototypes before rolling out the final designs. In the worst case, you may be forced to pull the final product from the market shortly after launch and costly mass production. To prevent this from happening, take time to research and develop a design that has real-world application.
Observe similar products already in the market and note down how they are operated. This will ensure you give weight to seemingly minor joints, surfaces, and cables that can raise the prototype’s reliability and safety.
In the absence of such knowledge, you could miss out on important handling and operating parameters thus making the prototyping onerous and expensive. Remember, it isn’t the job of the prototype manufacturer to give you a perfect product. Their role is to give you a product that’s exactly as per your designs.
As mentioned in the previous point, the prototype supplier’s job is to build the product based on the designs you present to them. That being said, stiff competition in the industry has seen prototype suppliers go out of their way to distinguish themselves from the competition. In this regard, a number of suppliers have taken a collaborative approach to work with their clients.
The best prototyping houses will actively participate in ensuring the prototyping process yields a rational and functional product. They won’t be keen on taking advantage of your lack of knowledge and making money off of your design inefficiencies. Instead, they can harness their experience to suggest ways you can perfect the product while saving money in the process.
Whereas changing the design and specifications at this point may feel like a step backwards, the prototype supplier’s recommendations can work in your favor in the long term.
It’s great if a prototype supplier offers tips on your design and helps you identify new ways of making your end product better. However, there’s no guarantee you’ll get this additional service for free. Ergo, do not bank on it as it could end up increasing your costs unexpectedly.
Instead, take a look at your own business, evaluate the skills of each member of your team and think about ways you can make the most of your people in the prototyping process. That way, you can task the prototype supplier with the prototype manufacturing only and handle all other prototyping processes internally.
You are already paying your staff, so utilizing their skills for this project won’t require you to spend more.
Prototypes guide businesses in determining whether their chosen design is fit for the purpose. While the rationale for prototyping is clear, the process isn’t always cost effective. These tips can help you cut down on your expenses if you opt to outsource the prototype manufacturing process.
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