From the many Hardware Startups we meet everyday, one thing that we have learnt is that very few of them spend (read: “invest”) the right amount of time and money on prototyping, that too, not without a fair bit of convincing. The fear of losing out on time-to-market is what scares companies away from this stage of product development
Manufacturing is complicated, unpredictable and very hard to control, even for big companies like Apple, Sony, etc. The tooling/setup costs are extremely high and can only be justified by producing parts in large volumes (Economies of Scale). If you do not invest the right amount of time and money in prototyping, there is a higher risk at tooling stage. Typically, tooling costs for everyday consumer products can vary from anywhere between Rs.2,00,000 to Rs.10,00,000 and it may take 45–60 days to prepare the tool.
What a good prototype does, apart from design validation and checking if its inline with your vision and market expectations, is the confidence to go ahead and invest (a good amount of money) in tooling.
It’s simple — spend X rupees now and save 10X later or save X rupees now under the risk of losing 10X and credibility later.
Consider a situation where no heed was paid to prototyping and you directly proceeded to manufacturing. There is the risk of market rejection and this could be because of several reasons — usability, too big or too small, misalignment of ports — all of which could’ve been avoided with the right investment in prototyping and testing. At this point, you’re left with no option but to re-tool and you will LOSE:
- An additional Rs.3,00,000–5,00,000
- Two months of lead time
- Worst of all — Credibility
In other words, short-term gain resulted in a long-term loss.
At REALiz3D, our focus has always been to minimise manufacturing risks and we lay hard emphasis on the importance of the prototyping stage in a product development cycle.
In conclusion, we’d like to say just one thing: Let’s not make manufacturing harder than it already is. Happy Prototyping!!!