The development of a new product is a long, complex and usually frustrating process. It can begin with a brain storming session to assess market needs, or with a sketch on the back of a napkin in a coffee shop. Whatever be the source of the idea, translating it into a product that will succeed and make profits for the manufacturer is a big challenge: it requires a large amount of engineering and management resources. This is not a problem for large corporations with dedicated design and development departments. But for smaller companies, the resource demands can have a negative impact on their ongoing operations and market presence. That is why outsourcing prototype development to specialist companies is gaining of late so much ground.
Wrong conceptions about outsourcing
A major concern of many companies in regard to outsourcing is that of confidentiality issues. Sharing proprietary information can be risky. And there is the danger of the competitors’ getting hold of your plans and entering the market first. However, there is no cause for worry with a professional subcontractor who specializes in prototype development. Such a company is built on its reputation on protecting client interests: any leaks of confidential proprietary information will devastate its business as much as that of a client.
The other equally important issue is that of competence. Many businesses know the basic technology, the prospective market and what type of finished product would match the market demand; they are therefore best placed to do their own prototype development. A professional prototype development company will work closely with a client to utilize his experience and technology, which, when combined with specialized development and materials skills, will produce the best and most cost effective results. Prototype development is a specialized field and the base technology is only part of the process. The skills needed for the development process are equally important, if not more.
The benefits of outsourcing prototype development
- Businesses are often set in their views and ways without really meaning to be so; inevitably, they have tunnel vision when it comes to technology. Outsourcing gives access to new and innovative concepts, systems and processes that can surely improve both the development process and the quality of the end product.
- The wide experience of the outsourced developer can contribute to both engineering refinement and product features and usability.
- More efficient procurement of new raw materials is a positive factor.
- Since no compromise is needed between the demands of ongoing manufacturing and of prototype development, the development work gets done faster. The outsourced developer will also be able to work on a more flexible schedule.
- The outsourced developer will be able to do design for manufacturing (DFM) and design for test and manufacturing (DFTM) analysis.
- Product refinement after customer testing, in general, often takes up more resources than is planned for. With an outsourced developer, this will not affect the manufacturer’s ongoing operations.
If innovation is the key to growth, effective and efficient prototype development has to be a major component of the whole process. Cost-effective operation is crucial to any business, in terms of both finance and management resources. Hence it makes a great deal of sense to outsource the process of prototype development to a specialist company that is reputed for the skills, technology, experience, equipment and execution of the job.