Companies, big and small, constantly look for more efficient protocols, procedures and partnerships. For tech companies, whoever they work with and outsource manufacturing to is of the utmost importance. Companies are always on the lookout for a more affordable manufacturer, but not if that means a dip in product quality. So how can tech companies cut costs while maintaining the quality of their products? Let’s take a look.
You’ll face extreme costs in the design stage of your project before production is even started. Why does this matter? The cornerstone of any hardware gadget is the electronics. The bottom line is, your product can look as awesome as any on the market, but does it work better? This is what electronic designers are hired for; and since they work by the hour, if something doesn’t work or goes wrong in the design process (which often happens), your design costs can rocket through the rough quickly. However, there are companies that provide electronic design work at a fixed price, so you can get your project off the ground without breaking the bank.
Electronic devices, if they have a microprocessor, need at least a basic program that controls its vital functions. This is called firmware. If your invention is a smart device, i.e., connects with the internet and can be controlled by a smartphone or another mobile device, then a mobile app is also a consideration. Most app developers and firmware programmers use different digital tools for their creations, so you’ll likely need at least two different programmers.
Electronic products require a host of certifications if your goal is global distribution. If your product is a wireless device, such as a new smartphone or similar, the costs of certifications can cost upwards of $10,000. All electronic products sold in the United States must be certified by the FCC, and the European Union requires a similar certification as well.
It might be a surprise, but the cost of electronic components are typically inexpensive. Most of the manufacturing costs associated with a new electronic product are the plastic case or frame. However, this is the most expensive aspect when a new electronic product is brought to market. While prototypes are made with 3-D printers, that technology isn’t advanced enough for large quantities. For mass production of plastic frames, metal injection molds are used, which are expensive. While initial manufacturing run can be mired with false starts and inflate the cost of production, partnering with experts in the field of specific components can lower costs. Take Apple Rubber for instance: this leader in the industry supplies standard and custom-sized o-rings, specializing in macro, micro o-rings and medical seals produced with a proprietary technology of thermobonding designed to ensure optimal product reliability. When working with a supplier like this, you won’t be burdened with mistakes as a general manufacturer tries to get it right.
From design to market is a long journey, one that costs most companies around $100K. However, the more complex and innovative the product is, the more money it will cost to design, prototype and manufacture. Reports of the first iPhone, for instance, cost Apple upwards of $150 million for design, tests, certifications and manufacturing, says Forbes. This is why it’s important you know all the costs of your electronic gadget before you back your invention yourself or search for investors.