The world is at our fingertips as inventors. In order to offer competitive prices for your products, you will most likely make your invention parts worldwide. We must embrace the computer age and use it to our advantage when it comes to manufacturing our products. With a little bit of knowledge, you will be able to leverage technology and begin the process of turning your invention ideas into products that you can make and sell worldwide.
What types of manufacturing services are available?
- CNC Machining
- Injection-molded parts
- Metal stamping
- Metal casting
- Laser cutting
- Blank PCB manufacturing
- Electronics assembly
You will be looking both locally and worldwide when it comes to having your parts made for your products. We do this as inventors for a few reasons, including receiving the best possible price quotes along with the highest quality parts.
Start by visiting manufacturers in your area
If you have never made parts before, you should start by visiting machine shops, injection mold makers, and electronics assemblers in your local area. I strongly recommend this approach so that you can learn about the manufacturing process. Talking directly with experts in your field will help you better understand how to design your products in the future. Don’t worry if you sound like a newbie when you visit these shops, most of them are professionals and will enjoy teaching you as much as they can. After all, their business could be tied directly to your future success.
Contact manufacturers over the internet
Although most cities and towns have all the services you need to build your inventions, you may live in an area where your choices are limited. If this is the case, you can order a few parts online and have them shipped directly to you.
Start by doing some Google searches for the types of manufactured parts you will need. You should be able to find dozens, if not hundreds of choices. You will need to contact a few of them by email and explain to them the parts that you will be ordering. Before you contact them, you should have your design files ready for manufacturing. There will be a learning curve, in the beginning, so you must get proper feedback from the machinists, mold houses, and other manufacturers. Over time this will help work out any issues in your product’s design. These companies should provide you with great feedback. If it isn’t a good fit for you, start looking for quotes from other companies.
It is a good idea to begin the quote process by asking some questions and getting feedback regarding your parts designs. This process will help you establish a relationship with these companies before you need to spend any money.
Some questions you might want to ask about your parts:
- What is the minimum number of pieces I can make for my test run?
- Are there any issues with my design?
- How can I improve my parts?
- Are there any cheaper materials or processes I could use?
- Can I do a sample run of my parts to test your services?
If it can go wrong, it probably will
Unfortunately, part of the invention process is working through all the issues associated with manufacturing. There are many steps in the process, which means there are also many places where things can go wrong. The best advice I can give here is that you simply need to be prepared for the worst and try your best to make sure you work out any potential problems before manufacturing.
Build a production-ready prototype
Building fully functional prototypes are the secret to my success as an inventor. It is also an essential step that most new inventors seem to overlook. Most manufacturers will be willing to make you a few test parts, prototype electronic PCBs, or whatever else you need. They may charge you a small fee for the extra work, but it will be well worth the costs.
There isn’t much room for argument when it comes to what we consider a prototype here at Invention Therapy. Our prototype process takes us directly to mass production in the shortest amount of time possible. By building a fully functional, ninety-nine percent complete one-off product, you will eliminate the possibility of issues during mass production. Overall, it also means it will be the best way to lower your start-up costs and save you from disaster.
Make one Hundred pieces of your first product
This next part is tough for many new inventors to understand. They latch on to this idea that by building one thousand, ten thousand or more pieces, they will be lowering the cost to make their products. The fact is that making a hundred units compared to one thousand reduces your initial investment in your invention by over eighty percent.
How to lower your initial costs while reducing your risks
Let’s say you have a product that will retail for US$150.00 but will cost you $50.00 to manufacture one thousand pieces, all-in including the box. Your quotes indicate that this product could also cost US$60.00 per piece in a quantity of one hundred units.
US$50.00 * 1000 pieces = $50,000.00
US$60.00 * 100 pieces = $6,000.00
I saved you US$44,000.00 to launch your first product.
We just lowered your initial investment in manufacturing from US$50,000.00 to only US$6,000.00! You won’t make an extra US$10.00 per unit, but it really doesn’t matter in the beginning. All we are trying to do now is get the business off the ground.
Six thousand US dollars is a much more reasonable investment for most people. We have lowered our risk while giving us a chance to verify the market potential for our new product. Should everything go right, and you sell out of the one hundred pieces quickly, you can increase your next order to two hundred and fifty units and grow from there.
Keep it simple, and you will succeed as an inventor
Far too often, we overcomplicate things in life. The process of inventing new products is not as complicated as it seems once you learn a few tricks. Like most things in business, it is a simple numbers game. You will need to think about the cost of every single part used in your product. That includes the packaging and any other expenses involved, like shipping your parts from overseas.
Should you have parts made in China?
At this point in our world economy, it doesn’t matter where you have your parts made. The only issues you need to concern yourself with is the cost and quality of the work. China has come a long way and is obviously very competitive In the world marketplace.
You may have concerns about China taking your money and not providing the parts, or maybe you are afraid they will steal your idea. Both are legitimate questions, but these issues can come up no matter where your parts are made in the world. The key is to make your parts worldwide and assemble them yourself or locally with someone you trust. Honestly, I have lost more money with local companies than I ever have with Chinese manufacturers. Like everyone else, their reputation is important to them, and they won’t risk hurting their business for a few hundred parts.
Manufacturing parts locally will be more expensive.
Another reality is the local laws, business expenses, and taxes in the United States and Europe. The cost of manufacturing parts in many of these countries can become outrageous. Once you are experienced at designing and constructing your components, it will be hard to resist the fact that your parts can be made in Asia for ten to twenty percent of the cost in other parts of the world.
Keep in mind that not every job is practical for manufacturing abroad. You may get the work done quickly, but shipping at a reasonable price can be slow, especially with heavier parts. There may be some parts that are still cheaper to manufacture locally or even on your own. These decisions are all just part of the invention process.
Inventing is a journey
There is a well established process to use when turning an idea into reality. It isn’t really that hard to follow and just requires some common sense. The process wasn’t created by Invention Therapy. These are the same methods that have been used by inventors for a very long time. The goal is to lower our risks while building the best products with the most potential to earn a profit. If you can do this, you will be on a path to becoming a successful inventor.