The prototyping process is one that can be modified based on what a manufacturer has carved out for their design. Quantity is a common qualifier in prototyping, and a decision must be made as to whether the mockups will be made in large or small quantities. The following is a short list of the benefits of prototyping in small batches.
1. It reduces design risks.
A small quantity prototype lowers the financial stakes associated with research and design. This is because manufacturers can test out different products without spending money on a large batch of different designs.
A prototype, successful or not, is a learning tool.
Manufacturers will often learn from early mistakes and implement these lessons into different prototype designs. Small quantity prototyping promotes a “back to the drawing board” mentality, which has been built into the process.
2. It benefits the preliminary design process.
Creating prototypes in a small batch allows for multiple versions of a product to be tested at the same time. As opposed to businesses that offer intangible services, the manufacturing of a physical product is very front-heavy, meaning that making a profit often implies that a good amount of time and money should be allocated for R&D.
Producing a prototype in a small quantity is relatively easy and therefore can lead to a false sense of productivity. However, continuing to develop prototype technology further will lead to increased confidence in how well these models can reflect the effectiveness and function of the finished product.
3. The options for customization increase.
Within the context of small quantity prototypes, this traditional business teaching remains true: lessening the general focus on quantity improves product quality. Beyond quality, small quantity prototyping also introduces a focus on customization.
High quality product parts can be custom-made without taking too much time or incurring a huge financial burden. This is beneficial because manufacturers can really hone in on a specific focus, like material or function, when constructing a new product.
4. Time management becomes easier.
With less emphasis on quantity, there is more opportunity for effective time management. Turnaround is quicker for both prototype production and new product development. Continuously investing in prototype technology accelerates the speed in which a new product will eventually reach the market stage.
In the long run, management of outdated inventory can also be a liability when it comes to time management, and small quantities minimize this in manufacturing.
Should your business be focusing more on quantity or quality?