For new product developers who have identified the need to outsource their manufacturing, there are some key steps to take to ensure success.
1. Do a Market Study Analysis
It is essential to do thorough product research to be sure your innovation hasn’t already been patented or produced by another party in the past several years. Be prepared, as if you were speaking to investors, to support why your product fulfills an unmet need, at a better price than anything that is on the market today. You must demonstrate you understand the distribution channels where the product will be sold, why retailers will carry your product and that you completely understand and have proficiency in penetrating these markets.
2. Design for Manufacturability
Developing a MVP or Minimal Viable Product is essential for your proof of concept phase. Granted, there may be several revisions after the first generation of product, it is essential to design with the lowest manufacturing costs in mind. There are professional design firms who can assist with the mechanical fit and function of your product as well as identify the right materials.
3. Prepare a Professional RFP
The first is to prepare a professional RFP otherwise known as a Request for Proposal. This will immediately convey credibility and earn the respect of the firms quoting in your project. It also separates you from the hundreds of others who are asking for quotations. A well planned and prepared RFQ will speed up the quotation process, provide a much more accurate cost and be better received by a reputable manufacturer.
4. Do Your Research
There are hundreds of resources on the internet for finding competent outsourcing direction. A simple Google search of “Outsourcing Manufacturing” yields tens of thousands of results. You will want to select a firm who demonstrates an interest in your project, competency with your products and has a good track record. Spend the time and compile a checklist list of these companies, their websites, contact information, the date you reached out and date they responded, whether you have sent your RFP. Follow these Six Steps to Finding a Manufacturer as a guide to take you through the process.
5. Develop a Budget
It is critical to understand how much capital will be required not only to launch your product but also to finance the first and ongoing orders. Product cost is not Project Cost. Marketing a product and getting it to market requires detailed forecast and an understanding of the required funding. Here is what you’ll need to know about financing your project as well as supporting your brand’s growth. The real question is how many widgets will you need to sell to break even on your investment.
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