5 steps you can take to ensure optimal product functionality
by JC Kocjancic, on Dec 6, 2022 1:20:28 PM
Designing a new product or working to establish specs for future manufacturing runs can put a strain on your time, your budget, and even your ability to satisfy the needs of your customers.
For that reason, it is important to eliminate every factor that could interfere with the functionality, sustainability, or delivery of your product.
Failure to vet manufacturing partners can cause a headache down the line, especially when you discover that your product does not function properly in its intended environment.
The following five steps will help you ensure optimal product functionality:
Step #1: Do your homework and select a reputable manufacturer. For some companies, tempting cost-cuts result in quality shortcuts. Talk to the design and engineering team, ask about industry experience, and request information on case studies comparable to your project. A brief investment of time on the front end can save a significant waste of time and money when you have to go back to the drawing board.
Step #2: Look for a manufacturer that can provide a turnkey solution, so you don’t have to engage two or more manufacturers to complete a single project. This will minimize communication gaps, repetitive costs, and confusion about accountability, production delays, and delivery timelines.
Step #3: Look for evidence that a manufacturer meets or exceeds industry standards. You know best what compliance and industry standards are required or preferred for your industry, but you should work with a manufacturer that has the capacity to independently meet those expectations. In addition to industry-specific certifications, consider the following:
- CSA standards that require rigorous testing related to American National Standards Institute (ANSI), UL, NSF International (NSF) and other global organizations
- ISO9001 Certification that is evidence of superior business practices, including a strong customer focus, continual improvement processes, and a high level of management engagement
- REACH, which encompasses standards related to the use of chemicals and their impact on human health and the environment
- RoHS, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive, that governs the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment
- Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standards applied in the assessment of products components, materials, and systems, setting a quality benchmark that provides confidence for end-users
Step #4: Invest in prototypes. If you are investing in the design of a new product or making adaptations to an existing product design, consider spending a few extra days and a few extra dollars on prototyping.
Prototyping gives you an opportunity to:
- confirm brand integrity
- establish a concept-to-production roadmap
- evaluate aesthetics, color consistency, graphics, and other brand components
- evaluate how materials will perform in various environmental conditions
- reduce costs related to modification of design, material, or manufacturing process
- safeguard against user risk, product recall, and compliance shortcomings
- test functionality, form, and style
- validate and refine design
Based on your findings, you can quickly move through multiple iterations until you fine-tune form, fit, and function.
Learn more about our Rapid Prototype Program.
Step #5: Insist on testing. Your product should never leave a manufacturing facility until it has been tested for form and function. If this step is neglected, you increase the risk that your product will malfunction after it has been put into operation. Product failure, in turn, results in delays and a loss of productivity and customer confidence.
Conclusion: Vet your manufacturing partner before you invest time and money. Your due diligence will safeguard your investment and ensure optimal product functionality.
About The Cubbison Company: We provide spec-ready and customized solutions to meet the printed electronics, user-interface, and commercial product identification needs of our clients. Companies in the medical device, defense, transportation, industrial power, oil and gas, aerospace, and manufacturing sectors rely on The Cubbison Company for engineering and design expertise, manufacturing precision, and exceptional service.