Project Development: Bringing an Idea to Life
Figure 1: Information provided by Douglas M. Bryce in Plastic Injection Molding.
To accomplish a goal, it’s best to have a plan, a timeline guiding that strategy, and a deadline for the completion of that ambition. For injection molding, this is key for project development. There are nine phases correlated with project development that we will be assessing. Each phase has to be approved before progressing to the next.
The project's initial proposal is phase zero, the first project development phase. The project is proposed to a group of team members that should include individuals from development, marketing, manufacturing, and service teams. This phase establishes a rough timeline and a business plan is created to help bring in preliminary funding.
Once phase zero is approved, the product specifications have to be defined. This is the focus for phase one. In this phase, every aspect of the product is established and product specifications are prepared. Some aspects that are established and prepared are the budget, deadline dates, information about the product itself, the type of material or materials being used, packaging, etc.
After a product’s specifications have been identified, it’s time to start designing the product. This is what phase two focuses on. Product dimensions are established and the specific material is selected. With the large diversity of plastics, selecting which one to use is reflective upon the product’s characteristics. Any important documentation should be gathered and organized also.
Following the approval for product design, phase three involves reviewing the design. Any initial changes that have to be made, take place in this phase. Any and all changes have to be updated and approved. Final funding is guaranteed during this phase as well.
Phase four determines the manufacturing strategy. This is a very important phase because it determines where the product will be produced. The decision between dedicated specialty and full service vendors should be analyzed in this phase. There’s an unlimited amount of questions that should be addressed for this stage.
Phase five is when prototypes are created. Prototypes can be computer generated, an actual product, or a combination of both.
Below are a couple examples of what prototypes can look like:
Once the prototypes are produced, phase six allows for the product to be validated. During this phase, the practicality of production is determined. The whole project development team looks at a variation of factors. Some of these factors would be to make sure that the market is there and that it won’t be moving any time soon, and also to make sure the product will actually sell. Since this is the phase after prototypes, show what was produced to individuals and get their feedback. Customer interaction plays a very important role. Additionally this is the last chance to drop the product before manufacturing begins. Final costs are provided throughout this phase also.
Now that the project is determined ready for manufacturing, phase seven is when production begins. The material that was decided on in phase two has been ordered, production is initiated, and sources are established.
The last phase of project development is phase eight. This is when the project is terminated. There are a few reasons why the project is being terminated. The target market for the product has decreased significantly, there are too many competitors, technology has advanced too much, or the life cycle of the production is completed.
There are many phases that are encompassed in project development. By no means is it a straight shot running through phases zero to eight. Most likely phases will have to be revisited and reapproved. The product design may change, which is way back in phase two. There are many different elements that get changed once the design refining starts. Another example would be with prototypes in phase five. Different prototype trials occur and if the prototype isn’t what the customer is envisioning, it may be back to phase two for re-designing yet again. The same can be said for phase seven, which is when production starts. There are a few production trials and re-designing that may have to occur in this phase as well. It’s all part of the process of making the best product out of your idea. Now an idea just needs to blossom and a team can be assembled.
Bryce, Douglas M. Plastic Injection Molding...material selection and product design fundamentals. Volume 2: Fundamentals of Injection Molding series. Michigan: Society of manufacturing Engineers, 1997. Print.
Flynn, Pat. “6 Ways to Validate a Product Idea Before You Waste Your Time and Money.” Smart Passive Income. Flynndustries, LLC, 30 March, 2015. Web. 26 April, 2016.
This article was published by the Jaycon team. Learn more about how we can take your product design and hardware idea to the next level here.