Content Type, Developing your Skills | August 7, 2014
Dixie Somers, freelance writer, Phoenix AZ, @DixieSomers
Whether you are a budding inventor, a bold entrepreneur, or a visionary businessman or woman, creating a product is likely on your horizons. As you already know, a lot goes into creating a product, and even more effort and planning goes into creating a product that will be successful. If you haven’t yet dipped your feet in the pool of product development, there are a few tips and warnings that you should be aware of before you get wet. Read on to learn about what elements will help you create a successful plan that will allow you to develop a product that enjoys success and popularity.
Prototypes should focus on key performance or technical features that will make or break the product. They are real-life manifestations of theory and planning. They serve as “bare-bones” models for improving the product. There are various types of prototypes based on the product’s features, complexity, cost and intended use.
The simplest prototypes are usually Proof of Principle, where concept functionality is verified. Without prototypes, mistakes become extremely costly if discovered during manufacturing or by disappointed customers. Take the time to build, dismantle, and rebuild prototypes to ensure that when you are ready to start producing the product, all the bugs have been worked out.
Manufacturing is a big component of product design. A functional, impressive product that is difficult to manufacture cost-effectively will have to possess exceedingly well-executed sales and marketing campaigns in order to deliver a positive ROI to the designer.
Manufacturing scalability is also an issue to consider, as fluctuating market demand will necessitate lesser or greater production, sometimes on short timeframes. Executing such changes smoothly will pay off considering that small business owners, inventors, and entrepreneurs typically have limited funds when the product first launches.
Logistics and Warehousing
Another operational issue to consider is related logistics and warehousing. Since nobody can expect to match supply with demand perfectly, inventory and warehousing become inevitable requirements in product development and sale.
According to the professionals of Arpac who specialize in warehouse equipment in Calgary, designers need to make sure the product can withstand any shipping process and storage conditions during the product development and packaging design. Tracking information, orders, customer demand, market trends and supplier capacity is all part of the logistics universe, so these elements should be considered at every stage of development.
Patents and trademarks are a two-tiered defense of intellectual property relating to a product. A product backed by a reputable trademark is likely to gain and maintain market share and customer respect. Investing in trademarks is likely to pay off in terms of reputation among consumers and legal protections against infringing competitors.
Receiving trademarks and patents for your work can be a long, messy process, however if you start early, you can have your intellectual property protected by the time you release the product will allow you to rest easy knowing that no one can steal your idea, technology, or even your methods.
It is very unlikely that a product designer will meet consumer demand perfectly, so feedback about product performance, pricing, marketing and other aspects of the entire product life cycle can be invaluable information before the release of the product. Whether you form focus groups or have free trials, it is a good idea to allow the product to be distributed to and tested by small groups before the actual release.
Much success can be had if the designer has the capability to process feedback and incorporate key improvement suggestions or tastes into future product upgrades/versions, and serious problems can be fixed before the released to keep the product from tanking. Plus, if you test out the product before paying for hundreds or thousands of models to go through production, you’ll be glad you didn’t waste money on producing products with glaring issues.
Whether you are an entrepreneur who wants to turn your big idea into a real product, or a new business owner ready to expand your product line, you’ll need to create a meticulous plan for product development in order to experience success with your new product and enjoy a return on your investment.