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Navigating the design to manufacture journey

Posted on 06/02/2020

Join us at our Design to Manufacture Lunchtime Event, in partnership with Product Design Scotland in Glasgow on 10th March.


Turning an idea into a scalable, commercial product is a challenge that faces many entrepreneurs, innovators and SMEs. Developing a new product, new functionality or new customer experience can be difficult, and the design to manufacture process must be given careful consideration to ensure that development costs and timelines are managed effectively. Navigating this process can be daunting and good communication between stakeholders is vital. By understanding what designers and manufacturers care about, it will be easier to establish the good relationships and processes that will avoid costly, time consuming changes further along the development process.


Collaboratively, in a Glasgow event on the 10th March 2020, KTN and Product Design Scotland are bringing together a community to discuss how innovators might be best equipped for the challenging design to manufacture journey.


Abi Hird from KTN’s manufacturing team speaks to the headline speakers and panellists about the services they offer innovators on the journey from design to manufacture.

Speaker's Thoughts

John Toal, Business Development Director, Tharsus

Tharsus are a UK Manufacturer of Advanced Machines and Robots listed by the Sunday Times as one of the fastest growing tech companies. Business Development Director, John Toal has been instrumental in developing the innovative and forward-thinking Contract Manufacturing services Tharsus offer.


What do Tharsus offer innovators?

We understand that the business pressures for innovators are very different to those of established companies looking to introduce new products to market. We feel that we have a role to play in supporting UK innovators, sharing our experience of the successful and the not so successful. We offer a free of charge navigation service advising innovators how best to anticipate the ultimate manufacturing requirements they need to consider when designing their product. This can save time and money later in the development cycle.


What are the main challenges you face when working with innovators?

Our main challenge working with innovators is to get them to focus on the MVP for launch day. We love creativity and ambition, but early commercial success is vital to the creation successful of a new product or service.


What would be your top bit of advice for innovators on the journey from design to manufacture?

We feel there is significant value engaging with a manufacturing partner in the early stages, of product development.  Don’t feel that you are wasting our time. We know it can take months and years to complete a design, we and others offering contract manufacturing services are here to help.


Tristan Elliott, Business Development Director, i4 Product Design

Since 2003 i4 Product Design has been a development partner for start-ups and well-known brands helping to bring over 200 products to market during this time. The firm is Employee-Owned and was awarded the 2018 ‘Engineering Company of the Year’ Made in Scotland award.

Focussing on effective collaboration for a great customer experience, Tristan liaises with customers and the i4pd development team, challenging thinking and decision-making, to ensure the journey runs smoothly from initial concept to a production-ready design for its introduction to manufacture.


What do i4 Product Design offer innovators?

We are a blend of creative designers and experienced engineers offering independent advice to clients. As a development partner, our clients can be confident that all IP generated during a project is their own and the design-work can be manufactured anywhere in the world, ensuring the safety of their supply chain and cost competitiveness of their product.


What are the main challenges you face when working with innovators?

Unrealistic expectations of taking a product to market: ‘… and I would like to have this product in the market within 3 months’. The commoditising of rapid prototyping has been terrific for the acceleration of the design, prototype and test cycle. However, this speed is at odds with the realities of commercial production timelines where tooling/set-up is required. We aim to work with our clients at the start of the project to determine the likely manufacturing processes involved, reflecting this in their NRE budget and timelines accordingly.


What would be your top bit of advice for innovators on the journey from design to manufacture?

Factor in twice as much prototyping and verification testing than you may have already estimated. Shortcutting during this phase of development is a false economy, as any issue that finds its way to production will be more costly overall to fix at this late stage.


Victoria Hamilton, VH Innovations (Recoil)

Recoil Kneepads are a new generation of knee protectors for the manual trades and construction industry. Our kneepads utilise a patented spring system to absorb impact and spread pressure more evenly across the knee – reducing pressure by up to 76%. Victoria Hamilton is a product design engineer and founder of the business. The product was developed in 2013 as a solution to her Dad’s knee pain and injury which he sustained in his lifetime career as a Joiner.


What is your experience of manufacturing?

Recoil is manufactured in Edinburgh and assembled in East Kilbride. We now ship worldwide and have our base in Glasgow. I have been responsible for all stages of the manufacturing process through from idea generation to commercialised product.


What are the main challenges you’ve faced bringing recoil to market?

There have been lots of challenges along the way, from manufacturing issues to sales and marketing challenges. The most important thing thought is to stay positive and focus on the solution. Build a team of great people, and trust them.


What would be your top bit of advice for innovators on the journey from design to manufacture?

It’s a marathon not a sprint. Bringing a product to market takes time, patience, dedication and resilience. You will face lots of challenges, but just focus on the end goal and keep pushing forwards.

Register your place

If you have questions for John, Tristian, Victoria or the wider panel please get in touch with Abi and she will put them forward in the discussion session. Keep a look out on social media as we announce more panel members for “Navigating the design to manufacture journey” on the 10th of March.

Register now to attend the event here!

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