In the earliest stages of a new product launch – before you even start sketching your design – it is critical to first understand all the industry standards your product will have to comply with. Consumer products cannot launch without being compliant to standards, which are usually in a state of flux and vary depending on the market. For example, the European Union may have different regulations than the United States for the same exact product.
Compliance to associated regulations also have an impact on where you could possibly manufacture your products. For example, manufacturing in China has had a cost advantage in the past because of lax environmental regulations, but this is changing as the Chinese government ratchets up the compliance requirements of these regulations. Consequently, the cost advantage that Chinese factories once enjoyed is slowly shrinking, resulting in higher demand for alternative manufacturing destinations such as Vietnam.
It is important that you understand these shifts so you can get your product manufactured to the right specifications and at the right cost.
For starters, here are a few questions to ask:
- Where will your products be sold?
- What specific regulatory standards will your products need to meet?
- How often do these standards change and what will the requirements be at the time you launch your product?
- How much will these standards impact the cost of your product?
- Where will your product be manufactured?
- What regulatory standards do these manufacturers need to meet in these locations? How will this impact the manufacturing cost of your product?
- Are there other locations where regulations are less demanding that could help you manufacture your product to the same quality?
- What is the compliance track record of your manufacturing partner in meeting these regulatory requirements?
Of course, the above questions represent only a small fraction of what you should be asking yourself before you even log into your CAD platform.
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Despite the diverse focus of these successful companies, it’s remarkable how much their product design and development processes share in common. Their hard-learned lessons can now benefit you, potentially saving your company time, money and frustration.
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