From print to prototype to production, we’ve been developing new products for our customers since 1991.
Going from concept to production and then successfully marketing a new product involves taking a number of critical steps. Sean discusses the first 3 steps to get ready for manufacturing in the video(right).
We’ll cover the entire spectrum of what the product development process looks like in the content below.
Patents & Trademarks
The first step you will want to take is see if there might be any potential patent or trademark infringement issues. You’ll need to perform a patent or trademark search and/or consult a patent attorney. We do not perform patent or trademark searches; we will not knowingly source a product that would infringe on another company’s patents or trademarks. Skipping this step leaves you open to the possibility of importing a product that infringes on a patent or trademark which could trigger a lawsuit, in addition to the possibility that U.S. Customs (or the Customs department of your country) could confiscate the shipment. If no one else has a patent on the idea you are looking to produce, that’s great! You are free to proceed on developing your product. It also might be a good idea to get a patent of your own on your idea. If there is an existing patent, it’s not the end of the world, your engineer will just have to take steps to develop the product in a way that doesn’t infringe on the intellectual rights.
Product Prototype & Testing
The product must be engineered, prototyped and tested to insure that it performs as intended. The engineering process involves creating computer-generated drawings (prints), that a manufacturing company will use to create the production parts. The engineers we have partnered with can work with you to create production ready drawings that can then be used to have prototypes made to test the drawings. Not prototyping your product is a costly mistake that can result in a shipment of defective parts; if you go straight to production and the factory makes an order of parts correctly to a bad design, then you’ll be stuck with them. The prototyping process can also help you by fleshing out ideas on how to improve the product. Our group of prototype manufacturing companies can provide a working prototype for you.
After you’ve tested a fully functioning prototype, it’s now time to do some market research. Market research is finding out what your customers want to buy and then catering both your product and its marketing to their interests and desires. What you think your customers want to buy vs what actually motivates their purchasing decisions can be two different things. Show your prototype to as many of your prospective customers as possible; you want to ask their opinion on your product’s quality, how easy it is to use, what would they pay for it, does it solve a meaningful problem, and how it looks overall. This will give you an idea on how to price your product, if there are features that need to be worked on, if chaff needs to be removed on your product and so on.
If there are any changes that need to be made to the product, the prints must be updated. You might consider having a final prototype or two made if your customers want to see an updated version, or if you had significant changes made that need to be tested.
Packaging & Artwork
Have the artwork for your packaging made. Getting your product completely packaged in China is no problem. It is best that you have the artwork made by a local graphic arts company; we do not recommend having the artwork designed in China. We can refer you to a professional company in the U.S. that has done excellent packaging designs for our customers.
If you’re setting up a new company, it’s important to make a business plan. Your business plan will help you understand the total costs involved in setting up a new business so that you can acquire enough capital to insure that your new company will make it over the long term. Lack of planning and insufficient capital are two of the biggest reasons why new businesses fail. Your business plan should include projected costs, projected growth, how you plan to reach your target market, an analysis of the size of the market you are trying to move your product in, and an analysis of the competition – What do they do well? What are their weaknesses? How will my business differentiate itself from them? Making a business plan will keep you on track towards success.
Going to Production
Now you’re ready to go to production. We’ll source a factory for you to make the production run, and get you a quote on the final, packaged product.
To get a quote for the production run of your new product, we need the following:
- A prototype that is a final representation of the product as you want it manufactured, and/or final engineer’s drawings.
- Purchase quantities per part.
- The major city closest to you so that we can provide a quote with the freight included.