Get to Market Fast with Pain-free Hardware Prototyping
For years, inventors have faced steep challenges regarding hardware prototyping. It’s almost as if the traditional manufacturing process with poor responsiveness, large minimum quantity requirements, long lead times, and exorbitant costs, was purposely engineered to keep designers from successfully bringing new products to market.
Fortunately, a new category of cloud-enabled manufacturing has evolved to meet the hardware prototyping needs of modern inventors, designers, and developers.
Cloud manufacturing is a relatively new concept. Manufacturers leverage a cloud-based software platform to simplify, speed-up, and bring transparency to both prototyping and production. This enables something akin to hardware prototyping as a service. There are several advantages of this approach for product designers.
- Quick Quotes: Unlike the traditional approach that boiled down to a lot of emails and waiting, with a cloud platform, you get your quote immediately after you upload your design files and bill of materials.
- Visibility: You can check the status of your project at any time, from anywhere.
- Change Management: Correct design mistakes, view your order history, and manage inventory from your browser.
In addition to giving you a portal for managing your order and project, cloud manufacturing vendors also leverage their software platform throughout the manufacturing process. They are able to smartly combine many small orders into larger ones. This means:
- No Minimum Orders: These new service providers are happy to accept your hardware prototype order and will work with you as you iterate to perfect your product.
- Fast Turn-around Times: Software driven manufacturing process means that you get your prototype back in a matter of days, not weeks
- High-quality Results: Quality control and testing services ensure that you get high performing PCBs and electronic devices
The Prototype is Just the Beginning
The great news about these new types of manufacturing companies is that they offer PCB prototyping services that take you from prototyping all the way to final product delivery to your customer. You can find a partner that offers:
- Seamless Sourcing: Whether it is for printed circuit boards or electronic devices, with the right vendor, you don’t have to worry about supply. They have relationships with parts vendors and can leverage the buying power of their entire customer base to keep prices low.
- Inventory Management: Want to avoid the expense and hassle of storing and managing your product inventory? If so, look for a manufacturing service provider that offers inventory management services.
- Fulfillment: The best cloud manufacturing partners will even package and ship your product right to YOUR customer. An API can be used to integrate your e-commerce or ERP solution with the manufacturer’s software platform, so that when an order is placed, it’s automatically delivered.
Inexpensive and Easy Hardware Prototyping for Everyone
This new model of manufacturing makes hardware prototyping accessible to anyone with a great idea and the skills to develop a design. It’s perfect for:
- Small Businesses: The huge order quantity requirements, high costs, and difficulty dealing with overseas manufacturers have made innovation difficult for small and growing businesses. The cloud model flips that on its head and opens the opportunity to quickly bring new products to market.
- Kickstarter Creators and other Entrepreneurs: In the same way that Kickstarter and similar crowdfunding platforms have created a new path to new product creation, cloud manufacturing disrupts the old approach to hardware prototyping, making it possible for more people to bring creative new products to customers.
- Engineers: The old approach to hardware prototyping was so onerous that even engineers working on an early stage or side project at a large corporation faced hurdles when it came to prototyping. Now, they can turn to a partner that will be happy to help with small quantity orders and iteration.
- Makers: Cloud-based manufacturing can add fuel to the Makers movement. Now anyone can add electronic components to devices that they’ve 3D printed or crafted in other ways.
This really is the dawn of a new era for innovators. Hardware prototyping no longer needs to be expensive, time-consuming, or difficult. With the right partner, you’ll go from concept to customer in no time.