Developing a new product can be a long and arduous process, usually involving unforeseen circumstances and technical difficulties, all of which must be overcome before the product can be successfully taken to market. A prototype is simply a three-dimensional scale (often smaller, but sometimes larger) model of your final product. Having a prototype model commissioned by a highly reputable rapid prototyping company is not only incredibly beneficial for motivational purposes as you get to see your creative vision brought to life, but it also offers numerous benefits when it comes to completing the product’s developmental stages in a cost effective and timely fashion.
Here are 3 advantages for commissioning a model prototype for your new product:
Provide a real life demonstration for potential investors
As anyone that’s ever watched the television programme Dragon’s Den knows, trying to secure those necessary investments to move your project along can be a difficult task. It’s one thing trying to convince potential investors to risk a large sum of money on your product’s development by giving a persuasive argument and flashy presentation; but by producing a prototype, you’re able to give a tangible demonstration of how the product will work in real life, exponentially increasing your chances of success.
By putting their money on the table, investors are not only investing in your product but are also investing in your professionalism and capability to oversee the product’s development and handle any obstacles that may arise. By showing that you’ve already taken the time and effort to have a high quality prototype produced, you’re conveying that you’re a person of action and responsibility, not just a wishy-washy inventor with an interesting idea.
Lower production costs & expedited time to market
Anybody can sit on the fence and hypothesise ad infinitum, but it’s not until you put plans into action that you’ll really begin to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your new product. Rapid prototyping allows you to make assessments in terms of both the functionality and aesthetics of your product. Creating a model prototype using an additive manufacturing process is relatively inexpensive, so if your magnificent vision did not quite translate to reality then it’s not going to cost you too much. As the saying goes, there’s always wisdom with hindsight; prototyping allows you to address problems early on in the product’s development phase, saving you much more money in the long run!
For example, prototyping can give you valuable information about the functionality provided by the chosen design materials, giving you the decision to use a substitute material instead. Making these kind of decisions early in the product’s development phase will be extremely cost effective when compared to doing so at a later stage, or when mass-production has already begun! In the same vein, prototyping also allows for cost estimates to be made for the mass-production of the product, allowing for a better allocation of business resources. Many technical issues with the product’s production process will be also highlighted by prototyping, allowing for improvements to be made in the areas of production efficiency and product quality.
More feedback = better product
Prototyping is important for obtaining internal feedback from marketeers, engineers and anyone involved in the project so that the product can be refined and improved. However, external feedback is also invaluable during the developmental stage. People who spend many hours working on a project can often develop their own biases and ‘tunnel-vision’, making it difficult for them to perceive their results with the kind of fresh eyes that their potential customers will have. Fortunately, by bringing a high quality prototype to exhibitions, trade shows and focus groups, feedback can be solicited from potential customers to help refine and improve the product in ways that those working on it may not have considered.
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