You have a great idea for a new product involving smart electronic sensors and you want to transform it into a sellable product? You completed your research on the different steps involved, you spent countless hours refining this idea, and you now have drawings, specs, characteristics, etc. You feel that you could not be more prepared for this journey into a new product development?
Experience shows us that there are still some surprises that are likely to await you in this adventure. Let us explain them to you and above all, let you know how to reduce their impact.
1- Delay: It will almost always be longer than your initial estimates
Developing an idea is vastly different than selling thousands of units of a product. What most people estimate as the entire delay from idea to production is in fact the time it will take to transform your idea into a functional prototype. You must consider these further steps:
- The validation of the software is often more complex than expected – it requires stable hardware which arrives late in the process.
- You will need to obtain all needed certifications – that require booking laboratory time and paperwork – you are not alone needing their services.
- There may be delays in the supply chain – a product cannot be produced unless you have every component ready.
- Plastic tooling and validation take many weeks – this is often seriously underestimated due to tolerance adjustments or unforeseen cosmetic issues.
- Your manufacturing partner might have bigger orders to cater to before your project gets on the manufacturing line. You are starting up, others may be in full production.
What can be done?
Throw all the money you can at the problem to speed things up? Not really! Although delays will tend to be longer than what you first expect, there are strategies that help keep the progress on track and as short as possible! Those methods may even save you some money.
You can, for example :
- leverage pre-certified modules
- perform pre-qualifications tests
- perform pre-scans for your certifications.
This will avoid surprises and unforeseen delays. You do not have to wait for a prototype to be fully working before you address your supply chain validation, build up component stock, etc.
Anticipating the final products, materials and processes will help you minimize your time to enter mass production and your entry in the market.
Be aware of development companies who may play on words to get your business. For them, a “product” may only mean a functional system. There are no shortcuts in smart product development, just careful planning, and smart execution.