How does this save time and money?
The creation of a new product is far from a seamless, linear process. The finished product is rarely, if ever, a carbon copy of the initial idea. There are layers of design, funding, wrong turns and production misfortunes to be experienced before the completed item ever sees the light of day. It is a costly and time-consuming process that is often completed under the pressure of the competition. Create a prototype can feel as it is only adding to these pressures and may seem counterproductive. However, there are three main reasons why adding an additional layer of design and manufacturing, through the creation of a prototype can save time and reduce costs.
- Reduce costly mistakes
No matter how well thought out an idea is, and how well the product is made, there is always the chance that things will go wrong. Mistakes happen, they are part of the learning process. However, when and where these mistakes are found can mean the difference between postponing or, in the worst-case scenario, canceling the launch of the product and paying millions in compensation, or needing to recall all your products. The use of a prototype is the best and the least expensive way to find the fault or mistake in the early stages of the production process. In this view, the prototype allows ideas to take form and to be tested. If you expect a product to do one thing and it does, in fact, do something entirely different, you can take apart and redesign the prototype, rather than issuing apologies and recalls.
- Raising and maintaining investment
Products are thought up, designed and brought to life by people who are experts in their areas. Unfortunately, these experts and the work they do cost money. The sources of this money are rarely experts in the same field and the concept needs to be explained to them clearly, ensuring the investors understand the purpose product and are confident it will bring them a return on their investment. This can be very difficult to manage unless you have some way of reaching them at their level of understanding. A prototype can do this by demonstrating what it does and why it is worth investing in.
- Trying something new
If companies never experimented with new ways of working, or new materials, no progress would ever be made. However, taking these types of risks increases the chances of things going wrong or breaking. A prototype allows these progressions to be tested without negatively affecting the end result.
Ensuring that the product is fit for purpose is essential to customer retention. A company that cannot retain repeat customers will find that it has higher marketing costs as it constantly has to attract new customer segments. The product is fit for purpose if it completes its assigned task effectively and lasts for an acceptable amount of time. Customers may be happy to replace clothes pegs every six months but will consider a vacuum poor value for money if it has to be replaced that regularly. This can be avoided by testing the product before the mass production. A prototype allows the testing of the product for potential weaknesses without the cost of producing the finished item. With improvements in computer generated models and 3D printers facilitating the process, making a prototype should be a straightforward decision for the companies that aim to save significant amounts of money in the long run.