With over 60 years of working with new clients, Electronic Craftsmen has learned how important it is to research market demand and select the right manufacturing partners before investing in developing a new product or even a prototype. From our perspective, here are some practical steps we encourage our customers to take before taking the plunge.
Step 1: Test market demand before investing in product development
We have countless stories of new customers who invested in developing a magnetic component for their new product, and subsequently learned the product did not sell. We don’t want this to be you!
- Evaluate the competition to see how your product competes or differentiates itself.
- Do you need to protect your intellectual property with a patent?
- Test your new product (concept or prototype) with your target market or existing customer base.
Step 2: Buy or build?
Do you have proven capabilities in designing or specifying magnetics? Precision can be critical in harsh environments with temperature fluctuation, movement and vibration. If this isn’t your core capability, hire an expert to design and manufacture your components. An experienced manufacturing partner will not only help you avoid the risks of bad design but can provide advice on opportunities to simplify and reduce cost when designing your prototype. This can create long term savings and reduced issues with your customer base.
Step 3: Find the right manufacturing partner for your needs
Here are four important considerations in selecting the right manufacturing partner:
- Location.While overseas partners
may appear to have better pricing, domestic manufacturers provide the advantage of
- simplifying product transportation and logistics,
- reducing language, cultural, and time-zone challenges
- participating in face-to-face meetings
- Find Customer References. Leverage
several resources to look for client references on manufacturers you are considering:
- Research online for manufacturers in your industry with specific search terms that target your specific needs.
- Connect with fellow engineers and entrepreneurs in your network
- Use dedicated industrial supplier
databases such as ThomasNet.com
- Create a short list. Narrow down your
search based on confidence gained from the following
- Is their website helpful and easy to navigate?
- Is it evident that they can do specifically what you need them to do?
- Are they capable? Can they provide engineering design insights you may not have considered?
- Do they have credentials?
- Are they familiar with your industry?
- Do they explain how they do business?
- Interview Potential candidates. Take a
critical, holistic view of each manufacturer on your list, and investigate beyond cost quotes and payment options.
Ultimately, your choice of manufacturing partner should depend on the following characteristics:
- A demonstrated history of know-how in design & manufacture of a wide range of custom parts
- A responsive, welcoming & helpful Customer Service team
- Established production capabilities and quality performance
- Willingness to foster a supportive, collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship
A good partner will be interested in your success and will appreciate the professionalism you apply in selecting them.