“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a thousand meetings.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a manufacturer, engineer or experienced designer who disagreed with that statement. If you’ve got an idea that you’re looking to materialise, you may be asking yourself, ‘do I need a product prototype?’ The notion that the cost of prototyping a design will outweigh the benefit is a dangerous one that more-often-than-not proves the opposite. Not prototyping your product is like driving without insurance…you will pay for it sooner or later.
Prototypes are product testing and will detect any performance failures in the early stages of manufacturing, which will save time, money and material down the track. During the engineering process, there is no better way to ensure optimal functionality, usability and manufacturability than through the trialling, testing and tweaking of a tangible version of your product design.
Industrial and product design is an iterative process, and it’s rare to see flawless first iterations of designs, regardless of the complexity, cost, or capabilities of the manufacturer. When you prototype your product, you catch flaws before they become problems – and it’s no secret that problems realised in the production phase are the most costly in time and money.
A prototype provides valuable insights for not only the designers and engineers, but for distributors, retailers and the end customers too. Gaining feedback on a prototype of your product from all relevant stakeholders is almost guaranteed to have a beneficial effect on the most important components of the project: resources, time, and budget.
Let’s take a look at the primary benefits associated with prototyping your product:
To wrap up, prototyping your product should not be seen as an optional stage in the product development process. The benefits of conducting rigorous prototype testing with the involvement of numerous stakeholders are irrefutable. We’ve seen it time and time again at Black Lab – nothing makes a client happier than completing a project in-time and under budget.