Small Decisions, Big Impact: Tips on Production and Design that Your Future-Self will Thank You For

by | Feb 24, 2020

Hardware is hard. Designing is hard. Manufacturing is hard. I’m sure that is the common theme amongst a lot of articles that you’ve been reading on Ioterra. Though it’s an abundant reality throughout developing IoT devices and product development, there are reasons for it! As Jon Hallsten, CEO of Hallsten Innovations, noted: “The dirty grimy minutia is what bites and really hurts when moving a product through commercialization to manufacturability. The 'hindsight is 20/20' and 'if I had only known' situations occur because of a lack of knowledge and experience.” Hallsten likes to think of this as the “One to Many Challenge”; I believe he’s trying to make the comparison that based upon one careless decision, there are multiple factors that can impact our end results. Hallsten mentions a few tips to optimize how we design and test our products to ultimately help us during manufacturing our product:

Join a Physical Product Incubator

Hallsten’s office is located in Chicago, a buzzing metropolis of product design has an incubator like the mHUB; search for incubators near your area to become a part of to shadow how other people are building their products.

Tear Apart a Competitive Product

There’s nothing like keeping your Incubator-friends close and your competitors closer; it’s good to do a deep dive into what makes products similar to yours successful and what needs to be improved upon. Hallsten advises building a Bill of Material (BOM) after you tear the product apart not only to get familiar with what is inside the product but to prepare for your future costs.

Be Prepared for the Costs

It’s not possible to be prepared for every cost, but it’s wise to be aware of common expenses involved:
  • Cost of Goods
  • Cost of Assembly
  • Cost of plastic and metal tools and dies
  • Cost of Certifications
  • Shipping
  • Duties/Custom and Taxes

Find the Right Contract Manufacturer for You

Here’s where Hallsten provides a key tool for his readers: the Contract Manufacturer Checklist is a nifty scoresheet that allows you to compare manufacturers when you’ve reached the stage of new product introduction. It offers an easy interface to allow you to score your choices with multiple characteristics in mind such as logistics, skills, and overall professionalism.

You’re entering a difficult industry, whether you’re connecting your product to the internet or not. You’re taking a great chance at launching a product that can be a commercial success or be a company that never launched. It’s worth doing your due diligence as best you can before you fully commit to the manufacturing of your product. It’s worth it!
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