As a sourcing company we are working with clients at the starting block stages of product development. It can be difficult, and overwhelming. Some just don't know where to start - how to get prototypes made to allow them to test the market, to tweak these early stage samples, to afford it, to find the right partners to work with and this is all before the actual product has started to be developed. Then comes a whole new set of considersations!!
I've put together some tips at these early stages, that will hopefully help those about to embark on a product development journey
1. Invest in 3D drawings to conceptualise the product. The measurements, shape & structure. At this stage a graphic designer may be able to work with you on this to develop the concept, this will depend on the complexities of the product, but best to wait until you know if the product is viable before investing in CAD drawings.
2. Material, some understanding of the types of material the product will need to be made with. Are there any electrical parts required? This will start to form the basis of the type of manufacturing process required
3. The sell out price. What should the final RRP price to the consumer be? This will dictate the perceived value of the product, and also the viability of using certain materials and manufacturing processes
4. Packaging, sometimes this is left to the end. But it is such an important part it does need consideration from the start. I know I get completely distracted by nice packaging - but especially a product with a high perceived value, it does need thought put into packaging. Look at other items around, what do you like? quality of boxes, hang tags, eco options etc. use these to understand what you like or dislike for your own product
5. Design, similar to packaging.. it's tempting to think the design part can be done on your own. Unless you are a designer, no it can't!! Invest here, wisely, it will make the difference
6. Be prepared to travel, for the clients we work with, we encourage them to visit the factories producing their products with us. This gives a better understanding of the product process
7. Regulatory stuff, each product that is produced has it's own set of regulations and certificates for the country it plans to enter. For selling in EU, the regulations are different for example than the US. Also if the UK leave the EU this may change some of the regulatory obligations both for items going into the UK, but also those that currently use British standards in EU. We do help clients in figuring this out, but it's so important to be up to speed on it as the reality is the retailers will expect you to know this.
8. How to find the right factory on your own? The option here is to work with a sourcing company or to go directly and find a factory on your own. There are obvious pitfalls for going it alone, and for most clients it's also about the time and resources that this will require, when the focus really needs to be on building a brand/product to launch onto the market. However if you are looking for a factory, my advice would be to attend trade shows and try to identify the right partner to work with, oh and wear comfortable shoes!
9. Patent and design protection. If the product is a novel idea do try and get it patented
10. Check out supports available. Our Local Enterprise Office in Naas has been amazing, there are so many different types of support available, both from a funding point of view or mentoring. Enterprise Ireland. Initiatives such as The New Frontiers program which may offer a bursary while you are spending time developing your product.
Hope this helps. Below is the 4 step process we take our NPD clients on. If we can help with your new product, please contact us: