As manufacturing companies grow and expand their product lines, it typically requires them to scale their complexity. As products become more intricate, they also grow more complicated and costly to produce. More challenging production processes, along with greater resource needs, can erode the bottom line.
Thankfully, there are strategies manufacturers can employ to expand their product line while keeping their processes simple and cost-effective. Consider a few of the top tips for mitigating sophistication with efficiency.
How Manufacturers Can Minimize Product Development Costs
1) Reduce the number of components.
One way to simplify product development is to keep the required components to a minimum. Not only does component reduction mean greater ease of manufacturing, but it also results in more reliable and efficient products. For example, say you find a way to use a single component to perform a role once performed by multiple components. This streamlined design is likely going to be easier to make, less prone to failure, and more durable in the long run. So, not only does component reduction simplify the manufacturing process, but it can also enhance consumer experience.
2) Adopt a modular design.
Alternatively, you can often make product development more cost-effective by breaking down the product into a modular design, using smaller and more manageable components that can be easily replaced or upgraded. The modular design philosophy reduces costs by allowing individual parts to be replaced or switched out, as opposed to replacing the entire product. By adopting a modular design, organizations can mitigate the risk of costly downtime and minimize the expenses involved with scrapping entire products for new models.
This approach has been successfully implemented across various industries and continues to gain popularity as an innovative strategy for reducing complexity and improving overall product performance.
3) Standardize your production.
Standardization is crucial to modern manufacturing philosophy. By leveraging standard components and design methods, manufacturers can achieve a range of benefits, specifically reducing the number of unique parts they need to produce. This, in turn, simplifies the assembly process and reduces the risk of errors or defects. In addition, by using fewer unique parts, manufacturers can streamline their supply chains, scaling back the time and expense required to develop new products.
Another benefit of standardization is that it allows manufacturers to reuse parts from other products and projects. This approach can expedite production times and improve overall quality, reducing the need to design and test new parts from scratch. And, by making the most of existing components and designs, manufacturers can focus their resources on the areas where they can create the most value, developing new features or improving the user interface.
4) Use Product Roadmap Management (PRM) software.
Finally, it’s imperative for manufacturers to use the most current and effective tech tools, starting with product roadmap management software. Manufacturing PRM software provides a centralized dashboard from which product development teams can manage everything from product ideation to market launch.
The best PRM software helps manufacturers to coordinate cross-functional teams, align product benchmarks with business strategies, and effectively manage complex, multi-part projects. Manufacturers that use PRM can clearly apprehend the product development process and improve communication, collaboration, and decision-making throughout the product life cycle. This in turn makes it easier to identify and address bottlenecks, streamline production processes, and minimize waste.
Product complexity often means greater development costs… but by being proactive in simplification, manufacturers can remain as efficient as can be.
Maziar Adl is a technology and business leader with experience in digital transformation, building startups, and enterprise platforms. Adl's main focus today is making Gocious the platform of choice for product management teams to set and drive their product portfolio strategy. Prior to Gocious, Adl acted as SVP and CTO of Experian where he oversaw a major technology transformation and modernization in line with a shift in business strategy to bring the business back to healthy growth.