How to Get Your Product Made: The 6 Steps to Manufacturing Your Product
New rapid prototyping, product development and on-demand manufacturing technologies are making it easier to bring a new product to market than ever before. Today, we explore how to get your product idea manufactured – and break down the 6 key steps to bringing your product idea to life.
There are few better feelings than having an idea for a groundbreaking new product.
However, as every inventor will know, that initial ‘lightbulb moment’ is the beginning of a much longer – and usually less straightforward – process. Once you’ve got your initial idea, you’ll need to research your market, define your audience, test your idea, build your product, and market it to the masses.
We know there’s a lot that goes into inventing and building a product from scratch (a lot more than we could cover in just one article!), but we want to provide you with a great place to start. Today, we’ll be breaking down the basics of bringing a new product to market, to help you get started with bringing your own idea to life.
Let’s start by breaking it down step by step:
How do you bring a new product to market?
Step #1: Come up with a concept
In other words, have an idea! If you’re reading this article, you’re likely already well on your way, but at this stage, the idea doesn’t need to be fully formed – just a thought about how something can be improved, or how a new product might help make people’s lives a little easier.
You may find your best ideas come from addressing a personal dissatisfaction or frustration – something that you’ve noticed is missing in your day-to-day life.
Step #2: Define and research your target market
No product is really worth anything unless it’s built with a specific group of customers in mind. To create a truly great product, you need to think hard about who you’re creating for – and what would be important to them.
Who is your ideal customer? What are their buying behaviors? Is your product seasonal, or do people typically buy it each and every month? The importance of scoping out your target market cannot be stressed enough, as it will determine your distribution plans, price structure, and other important factors.
Step #3: Research, research, research – and test!
When it comes to product development, there can be no overstating the importance of validating and testing your product. Essentially, it’s critical to evaluate your idea as a viable business opportunity. This means understanding your product, your target market and your competition as best you can.
This is an ongoing process – which should happen even years after the product has launched – but at this stage, thorough research involves having conversations with industry experts and target consumers, finding out whether your idea is feasible, how it would work on a practical level, who would derive the most value from the product and what they would use it for.
In fact, The Lean Startup methodology has as a premise that every startup is a grand experiment that attempts to answer a question. The question is not “Can this product be built?” Instead, the questions are “Should this product be built?” and “Can we build a sustainable business around this set of products and services?” This experiment is more than just a theoretical inquiry; it’s a first product – and that’s where prototyping comes in:
Step #4: Create a prototype
As experts in on-demand manufacturing, we know we might be a little biased, but this is the fun bit! Prototypes are early samples, models, or releases of a product, and are built to test a concept or process – and check that it actually works.
In 2021, creating high-quality prototypes for products has never been easier, as rapid prototyping techniques (such as 3D printing and CNC machining) allow you to create prototypes quickly to visually and functionally evaluate an engineering product design.
Rapid prototyping helps reduce product development time massively, is cost-effective (as it is an automated process) and is extremely precise. As rapid prototyping is an iterative process, it also allows customer requirements to be incorporated into designs cost-effectively further down the line, once your product is made.
Step #5: Secure a patent
Now your product development has begun, it’s time to make sure your idea remains yours!
You can use a patent to protect your invention. It gives you the right to take legal action against anyone who makes, uses, sells or imports it without your permission. To be granted a patent, your product must be something that can be made or used, and must also be completely new.
To patent an idea, you apply to the UK Intellectual Property Office (formerly known as the Patent Office) by completing a patent application form and drafting the patent specification. You can find a more extensive guide to patenting your product here.
Step #6: Decide how you want to bring your product to the marketplace
Now that you’ve tested some successful product prototypes and patented your product idea, you’ve got several options before you.
Do you want to sell your patent outright, or start your own company? Perhaps you want to outsource some aspects of your business, while still keeping full ownership of it (making you an ‘outsource entrepreneur’)? These are all completely valid options, and we recommend thinking very carefully about which path best suits you.
Once you’ve made a decision, voila! You’ve just brought your product idea to life, and you’re ready to start producing your products en masse. When thinking about how you want to bulk manufacture your products, we recommend choosing a reliable on-demand manufacturing platform, so that you can benefit from a global network of suppliers, ensure the correct quality assurance procedures are in place, and save yourself a lot of time and money on the admin.
Without further ado, let’s get into how you can leverage on-demand manufacturing platforms at every stage of your product development journey:
How to leverage on-demand manufacturing when bringing a new product to market?
Earlier, we touched on the importance of prototyping in bringing a new product idea to life. Now, let’s get into how you can get high-quality prototypes created quickly, easily and cost-effectively.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to order high-quality custom parts (created through processes such as CNC machining, 3D printing, injection moulding or sheet metal fabrication) using a trustworthy online on-demand manufacturing platform.
Once you’ve taken your product to market, on-demand manufacturing platforms are also a great way to manufacture products in large quantities (bulk manufacturing) as they are much more cost-effective and efficient than traditional manufacturing processes.
To name just a few of the benefits of on-demand manufacturing platforms for product development, they connect you with a far larger network of global suppliers, let you feel confident in the quality of the parts you’ll be receiving (so long as you choose a reputable and reliable MaaS platform) and are also much faster than traditional manufacturing processes. For example, when you order custom parts through Geomiq, you’ll receive them in as little as 5-7 days!
Let’s break the on-demand manufacturing process for product development down into five simple steps:
Step #1: Upload your designs
With an online manufacturing platform, you can upload your designs (CAD files) digitally in minutes, where they’ll be checked (and then triple-checked) by an in-house team of expert engineers.
Step #2: Receive your quotes
After you’ve uploaded your files – and in doing so, submitted a request for quote (RFQ) – your platform of choice will match your part request with ideally suited manufacturers from across the globe. At Geomiq, we benchmark a minimum of 3 quotes and deliver you the best prices within one business day.
Step #3: The manufacturing begins
Your prototypes or high-quality custom parts will then be created by your chosen manufacturer – using 3D printing, CNC machining, or injection moulding techniques, to name just a few examples of the capabilities we offer at Geomiq.
Step #4: Quality assurance
Provided that you’ve chosen a reliable digital manufacturing platform, a team of engineers should be carrying out multiple quality checks right from the beginning of your part’s journey; improving and correcting the files you upload, preparing detailed inspection reports within the warehouse and conducting thorough inspections of each and every part you order before sending them your way.
At Geomiq, we pride ourselves on our commitment to providing the best quality assurance possible. We employ highly skilled engineers to triple-check all of your files and parts during the quoting process and on the factory floor, ensuring that you’re always happy with your results.
We currently offer 5 levels of inspection when creating our detailed inspection reports (Standard Inspection, Formal Inspection, First Article Inspection Report, CMM Inspection and Custom Inspection), as well as multiple quality checks throughout each part’s journey.
Step #5: Your high-quality custom parts will arrive at your door
After receiving the parts from the manufacturer and carrying out multiple quality checks and inspections, your digital manufacturing platform of choice will deliver your parts to your door.
Product development is no walk in the park. There’s a lot of market research, testing and product validation involved in bringing a new product to market – but don’t worry, there’s good news too!
Not only is building a new product from scratch one of the most exciting and rewarding things you could set out to do, with the introduction of rapid prototyping and on-demand manufacturing platforms like Geomiq, the practicalities can all be taken care of for you, so you can forget the hassle and focus on what really matters – bringing your product to life.
Thanks to on-demand manufacturing platforms, a global network of high-quality suppliers are just a few clicks away – and they’re all ready to help make your product and prototypes as fantastic as they can be.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.