Batch production is the initial testing of the return on investment. This is because it’s the first time you really get to see what all your efforts, time and money have produced. The first iterations of the product will be what you can show your investors, employees, c-suites, shareholders and the executive board of the intended final version that will be on sale. Making the product is the first challenge as you must choose a good facility in which you can keep costs low as possible while boosting quality as much as possible.
Shopping for the materials is another hurdle that you have to jump over as this is where the quality of your product will really be decided. Despite your design and the manufacturing practices the facility might employ, your product will be sold generally on the quality of material when looking at build quality. No one can expect weak materials to last long no matter how well the product is put together. The other aspect of creating your first batch of products is that you will see if the real thing is as you expected it to be. Now is the time you may make some final tweaks before you launch.
Choosing the manufacturer
Picking the manufacturer is the first big test of your product production journey. First you have to pick the right kind of manufacturer, that is not just in your industry but in your specific sector. For example the technology industry is a large world, but a smartphone manufacturer will be specific in their facility design, materials, machines, and operating style. Next you must decide on whether it will be a domestic supplier or will it be one from overseas. Don’t give up on the idea that you can have your products built abroad as it could be cheaper than the domestic options you have. However the perception from customers might vary as products made abroad often have a reputation to be inferior to the domestic product in terms of quality.
The advantages of the domestic production are such as having far higher quality, more control over each stage of the production, quicker analyzing of the product and consultations with the manufacturer. The disadvantages are that it will cost more, and possibly fewer choices of materials unless you’re willing to import them in. The advantages of overseas production is that the cost is going to be lower. However one of the most overlooked is the cultural difference in business practices. The typical way you find manufacturers is to search for them in search engines and contact them one by one, and setting up a meeting with those that you find worthy. On the other hand, you can use your own contacts and or learn about your options at SME conferences, exhibitions and summits.
The initial few
The challenge in the beginning is to make the first batch so that you can see with your own eyes what the final product will look like. You don’t need to make a couple hundred. In fact you don’t even need to venture into the triple digit range, because that many products that are still in their infancy, are not going to be the final representation of the product. Think of them as the final prototype. You can still do a few tweaks to the product but ultimately it will be the base that you will platform from. Therefore you don’t need a lot of money to even make your first batch. This is something that too many entrepreneurs sometimes overestimate because they are in the mindframe that they need to make this first batch, the first batch to sell. A first batch is not for selling. It’s for testing, reviewing, marketing purposes, pitching and presenting to investors and businesses etc.
One way you can fund your first batch is through personal loans that can supply you with up to $15,000. All you have to do is go through the process online, sign up for an account, use the key sent to your email to activate yourself, then put in your request. After you have filled the form in, you will get approved and the money is sent straight to your bank account. Use this $15,000 wisely as you possibly can. Having an accurate estimate for what each product in your first batch will cost will help you to guess how many you can make with your available funds.
Start your engines
With your facility and factory chosen, along with your manufacturer, it’s time to begin production. It’s very advisable that you are present at the facility on the day production begins. Stay out of the way and let the workers do their jobs. You may want to be present in the office of the facility manager, or the head of production of the company you have contracted. Sitting in the office watching the work happening and discussing the prototypes in detail will help strengthen your relationship. Be ready with your own transport to deliver your first batch to your headquarters where the further operations of the first batch will take place or start.
Have with you a spec sheet, i.e. the certain specifications for the product. With this spec sheet you can check that every product of the first batch meets the requirements and expectations of your design. Once you are back at headquarters and you have in front of you the first batch, you will be sending some to hopeful investors to have them see and touch it with their own eyes and hands. You can also send some to potential distributors that are showing interest in selling your products and giving your business a place on their shelves.
The first batch is one of the most exciting parts of creating a product. Your dreams that were once just words and thoughts, have been made into a reality. You’re feeling and testing your product for the first time and this gives you a real picture of what you have designed. Picking the right manufacturer is the most important action as the build quality and adhering to the design is absolutely crucial.