Looking Beyond Development: The Importance of Market Adoption and Product Evolution
As a product design and manufacturing company, it is vital to prepare for market adoption, consider the road ahead, and continuously manage the product evolution. It is essential to define the end use as early as possible in the concept phase and continue to monitor throughout the product development process, integrating user feedback through the minimally viable, alpha and beta prototypes. The product development process does not end once a product is commercialized, but continues as updates are made to existing products and next-generation versions are produced for optimal use well into the future.
Preparing for the Journey
Early in the development process, the product team must plan and eventually work through the market adoption process. Scaling should be discussed, as it is crucial for supporting increasing volumes as a product gains acceptance in the marketplace. There are a number of factors to consider and balance related to scaling, such as the ROI associated with investment in automation versus tradeoffs in unit cost over the first few years. Margins are often restricted in the early years because the cost of goods is elevated as higher labor is used to produce the product as automation may not be viable until demand is defined.
In subsequent years, process improvements and cost-saving measures should be implemented, and in many cases levels of automation incorporated into the process. An experienced development partner will work to establish a manufacturing platform in the early phases of development, that allows for iteration over time. This enables the balancing of economics associated with units costs versus investment in automation as demand is defined.
Navigating the Road Ahead
An experienced development partner will work closely with their clients from concept through design validation and continuing beyond product launch. This includes regular meetings to discuss schedule status, development budget, unit cost, technical and regulatory strategies. There are tradeoffs in each of the aforementioned as the the development process progresses. Start-ups are often most focused on the short term, developing a demo’s, and engaging investors for additional funding. A considerate development partner should aid these businesses in being mindful of the long-term strategy and road ahead. Once the prototypes are produced, it brings the idea to life and the initial testing and user feedback creates a buzz. This is when a partner should initiate forward thinking about the road ahead and the direction the product heading relative to market adoption. In-depth discussions should be held about how to balance the tradeoffs in investment versus to continually produce the product as demand escalates. A strong development partner aids in this sometimes bumpy road to ensure continued success.
Once a product has completed the journey through concept, development, and commercialization, there is an evolutionary process to needs to continually evaluated. This process should consider both the current product economics but also the next generation of the product. The product development/contract manufacturing partner should remain involved throughout, as they are integral to the product, process and business model that has been created. The product may evolve into different applications, resulting in additional work to be done. A product development partner should be considered when next-generation products are being considered. This is important from a design perspective, but also in considering and navigating the regulatory strategy. It is important to consistently add value to a product and make clients aware of where their product can go. When developing a new product, an experienced partner looks forward and forecasts potential challenges and approaches to efficiently navigate the process to bring the product to market.
The Lighthouse at the end of the Tunnel
Lighthouse Imaging is a leader in optical design and manufacturing solutions in the medical industry. Their areas of expertise include the miniaturization of 2D/3D endoscopic, robotic, disposable, imaging systems. In consultation with their clients, throughout the product development process, they are always looking forward and considering the economics, production scaling and the integration of the next generation products.
Lighthouse understands the initial prototypes are exciting and can be game changing to an industry, but they are always looking at the road ahead and considering what the next five years look like for a product. They peek behind the curtain and see what could potentially be coming down the line to ensure complete client satisfaction. Lighthouse Imaging knows the importance of market adoption and works diligently from day one to ensure successful product usage and buy in. They share in their clients excitement about the future, thinking about the next steps in the development process.