Taking your product from the concept phase to prototyping and finally to production is a long, and at times, frustrating process. You want the shortest path to market possible, but unfortunately, you’re bound to run into a few snags here and there. Some, however, are more avoidable than others according to highly experienced Arrow engineers. In working with hundreds of Indiegogo-funded Arrow Certified campaigns both large and small, Arrow engineers have identified the key problems associated with hardware in particular.
Let’s discuss best practices on how you can avoid common hardware issues in your operation. We’ll start with the logistics of getting your parts: where you source, when you need to purchase, and other often overlooked details that play a big role in helping you stick to production timelines.
Let’s start with the number one issue Arrow engineers see when it comes to hardware: where the parts and components are coming from.
What to Avoid: Sacrificing Quality for Cost
Ensuring your operation is cost effective is probably something that’s always running through the back of your mind. Some parts come with a steep price tag, and when it’s time for production, finding something at a lower price might seem like the perfect way to cut down on costs.
It isn’t hard to find an unestablished distributor either in the country or abroad that supplies cheap parts and components. However, there are several problems with relying on these distributors that are not officially affiliated with suppliers.
- First, you lose control over quality. Because these distributors are not supplier affiliated, you can’t guarantee that the parts you’re sourcing are legitimate. They could very well be (and in many cases are) counterfeit. At that point, you run into problems with functionality, which is not something you want when going to market.
- Second, even if the parts do happen to be legitimate, a good number of them may be obsolete, which presents a serious problem for your operation if you intend to manufacture product for extended periods of time.
Even if you’re not sourcing your parts from unaffiliated distributors, you can still run into issues with part quality. A good number of operations use inexpensive parts to reduce production cost up front. However, because you often sacrifice quality for the sake of cost efficiency, your production may end up losing more in the long run.
How to Keep Quality High
Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid low-quality parts and shady distributors by sourcing your parts from trustworthy suppliers and manufacturers. Arrow engineers can connect you with the top suppliers in the industry, taking into account your intended market and the unique specifications of the product you are designing. In many cases, the best option is a custom solution. Again, Arrow engineers can help you find the right manufacturer with the capabilities to design a solution optimized for your application.
Remember, if your product doesn’t perform reliably, then it doesn’t really matter how much you saved by using inexpensive parts since consumers won’t want to buy a product that isn’t guaranteed to work. And, perhaps an even steeper cost lies in the fact that you’ve put your reputation at risk by sending a low-quality, unreliable product to market.
What to Avoid: Not Thinking Ahead When Ordering Your Components
Once you’ve decided where you want to source your components from, you need to make sure you can get them in a timely manner and in quantities that are cost-effective for your operation.
First, check the minimum order quantity of a specific part or component. If you were originally intending to manufacture 500 products, seeing an MOQ of 1000 for a particular electronic solution can catch you off guard. While the parts you need are available, it isn’t cost effective to buy more of a part than you actually need, and taking the time to find an alternative part can set back your production.
How to Create the Right Plan
A potential solution is finding a similar part with a smaller MOQ, though taking the time to find a different solution still could result in production delay to some extent. The best practice is to verify MOQ right away – it will be easier to stick to your timeline, and you’ll avoid the disappointment of not being able to use a part you thought would be ideal.
Along the same lines, you should look at the lead time to obtain each part or component you are planning to use. Getting one or two parts right away isn’t all that difficult, but if you need to order in bulk, you may run into lead times of nine to thirteen weeks or even longer, since it will take time for the company to supply a larger number of a particular part. Lead times catch many operations off guard, so it’s best to take them into consideration in the early stages of your production process.
Most of the logistical issues associated with getting parts and components are fortunately fairly easy to address, and taking these precautions can maintain your production timeline.
If you’re interested in taking your operation to the next level and want to take advantage of professional engineering expertise, find out how to get Arrow Certified here.