10,000 pieces by next month, is it possible?
10,000 pieces by next month, is it possible?

10,000 pieces by next month, is it possible?

Your product is finished! The prototype works. It’s ready for production and looks good to boot. Now all you need is a manufacturer but that turns out to be more difficult than you thought.

Most products are made with many different components which (usually) require multiple manufacturers. Are you going to approach every single one by yourself or are you looking for the one who will be able to deliver the whole product? And when you’ve found a manufacturer you find the problems have only just started. The price depends on all types of conditions and doesn’t even come close to the figure you expected. Delivery is going to be delayed and afterwards you’re confronted with all kinds of one-off costs!

The difference between one-off and serial production.

The goal of any manufacturing party is to reproduce a product as good and efficiently as possible and is focused to achieve that end. Therefore it’s necessary to fix everything to the same standard. Otherwise it could happen that one product is different from the next. That is why production batches demand product information to be of a high standard. Many manufacturers even it out between prototype and production with their own production preparation and/or design department. The department is able to get started with less data; they will draft the comprehensive information themselves. Naturally, this is only possible in cooperation with the client. The actual production preparations start only after the production manual has been drafted. All these activities, from making the molds to programming the machinery, take up a lot of time, which means starting up production can take a lot longer than you think (several weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the product).

How can I facilitate the transition to production?

To prevent disappointment in the transition from development to production it’s important to pay attention to producibility in as early a stage as possible. Use the acquired knowledge of manufacturers. Their direction will result in a product that’s easier to produce, they will prevent manual operations, and last-minute adjustments to the production of the prototype. They can choose the right production technique by adjusting the lot sizes, which can result in reduced initial investments and a slight increase in cost per product. This usually applies to new products with an undetermined market demand. Of course, the other way around could apply as well.

How do I make the right selection of manufacturing parties?

To select a manufacturer you will need one with knowledge of the production market and with base knowledge of the diversity in production possibilities. With this knowledge you can approach several parties that fit the product and the lot size. Do not limit this to one party but make sure you have options. If your product consists of components that you do not want to assemble yourself, you can look for a product assembly company. They will be able to subdivide the different components to different suppliers and attend to whole chain that way.

What do I base my choice on?

You will achieve the best results if you define a number of criteria in advance that are important during a previous stage. Either the price or your feeling is too limited. Several of these criteria you can present to the potential manufacturer. You will have to decide on other criteria by visiting the company and check references for example. With criteria we mean: nominal lot sizes, quality, familiarity with the end market, location, accuracy, presence of design/production preparation expertise, possibility to scale up, etc. Appreciation of these aspects together with your own feeling will give you a reasonably objective choice and increase the chances of a successful transition from development to production.

Investing

This way of handling the production preparations does call for an investment of time and money. However, these investments cannot compare to the difficulty and inconvenience of having to solve production problems or having to switch manufacturers!

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