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Manufacturing 101: From Prototype to Production

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If you’re like many successful business leaders, you have at least one great idea for a product floating around in your head. But taking that idea and turning it into an actual product can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re taking you from prototype to production with this guide to manufacturing. Keep reading to learn the steps you’ll need to take to protect yourself and your investment as you turn your ideas into reality.

Create a Digital Prototype

Before you can ever produce a prototype or choose a manufacturer for your product, you first have to take your idea and turn it into reality. While you could sketch out your ideas the old fashioned way, a digital prototype is a better choice. Not only is it easier to make changes and adjustments, as well as copies to share with rapid prototyping. Once your digital prototype has been selected and produced, it’s time to create a physical prototype as well, if possible.

Protect Your Ideas

Once you’ve brought your ideas to life on a digital screen, you’re almost ready to start building a prototype. But before you move on to that step, it’s essential to make sure that your ideas are legally protected from theft.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office offers patents on intellectual property that can help protect your ideas even before they become physical products. So at this stage of the manufacturing process, it’s a good idea to begin the steps to acquire a patent for your work.

Get Backing, Test Your Product or Run Market Research

Once you have a prototype of your product, it’s time to decide whether your product will perform or if it still needs further development. You should be doing market research to prospective customers, testing your products, and working on getting any funding you still need to go forward and produce your product on a larger scale.

This stage is also your chance to make changes or adjustments to your product before you start investing more money into production.

Choose Between In-House Production and Outsourcing

Deciding whether to produce your product in-house or outsource is the most crucial step in taking your product from prototype to production. Outsourcing production can be costly, limiting your product’s growth, and may require changes to your work. But producing your product on your own has drawbacks as well. Deciding whether you have the initial funds to buy the space and equipment and hire employees is one important consideration. Another is the risk involved in producing your product.

Could you be exposing your employees to hazardous materials? If so, you could be putting your company at risk of a costly lawsuit later on. Even outsourcing your product could put you at risk of future legal trouble if part of your production involves hazardous materials like asbestos. Researching all potential risks involved with production can help you determine potential problems. Then, if there’s any risk involved, consulting with a legal professional who has experience dealing with cases involving hazardous substances can help you take action and protect your product and your company’s future success.

Launch Your Product

Now that you’ve developed your prototypes and taken measures to protect your ideas and your company from future legal trouble, it’s time to launch your product. Not following each step on this list can have costly consequences, such as getting your ideas stolen if you fail to obtain patents or lawsuits from employees and customers over hazardous materials used in production. But if you have followed the steps with the proper marketing, you’ll be on the road to success.