Rapid Prototyping Tips & Tricks
Updated: May 20, 2020
One of the ways Motivo is able to help clients move their projects forward and realize their aspirations is through our approach to rapid prototype manufacturing. We often hear that clients are mired in their internal manufacturing processes – long lead times, delays, disconnects in communication, bidding wars, and miles of red tape and bureaucracy. “That’s the way it is” thinking can cause unnecessary delays in prototyping and product development.
There is more to our success than just having amazing in-house fabricators and technicians. We have developed a large vendor database with multiple and overlapping capabilities, so we are successful even on short notice and during busy times.
Here are some of the ways we work to create a strong and well-versed shop:
Keep an open line of communication with your suppliers
Suppliers are just like any other division or team within your organization. You need clear, timely, and actionable feedback, and if that communication is lost, so too is the ability to fix complications before they become larger problems.
Include your suppliers early in the design process
A common complication in rapid prototyping is spending significant engineering time working through complex challenges, which can leave little time for production. Including suppliers early in the design stage turns them into partners, allowing them to provide feedback on lead times and alternative paths by identifying risky components.
Identify long-lead and high risk parts ASAP
Continuing the same mindset as above – high risk parts can be mitigated if they are identified early enough. By provisioning those parts and components early for multiple manufacturing options and drop-dead dates, custom pieces won’t throw a wrench into the timeline.
Make your vendors your partners
This may be most critical to the success of rapid prototype engineering and the underlying approach to most of what we have recommended. Motivo has very close partnerships with local suppliers and vendors, which allows us to streamline the manufacturing feedback and procurement process. Our quotes are processed quicker, we know which vendors’ capabilities line up best for each task, and we get the edge on new technologies and capabilities. As an added bonus, we can leverage these relationships for referrals to new vendors, which expands our database.
In addition to making a high-intensity project less stressful and the team more focused, all of this saves time and money for projects. These supplier relationships keep the capital investment lower and pricing more competitive overall.