After proving your technology with a few working models (“prototypes”) and selling to your first customers, it’s time to start considering how to build 100 to 1000 devices. Here are some decisions to help guide how fast you scale manufacturing.

  1. Working Model:
    • Start by building a Frankenstein model that has only the features you think are new, useful, and unobvious. Practice your sales pitch with it, get feedback from friends and family.
  2. Prototypes
    • Build three to ten professional prototypes with a partner like MOXIE, understand fit and finish. These can be shown to investors, used for web content, brought to trade shows.
  3. Quantities of 100
    • At quantities of 100, assembly and QC processes become important. Prices are high enough you probably want to look overseas for some components.
  4. Quantities of 1000
    • At quantities of 1000, a small team will be required to manufacture, test, and support your product. Quantities are high enough to establish manufacturer and suppler relationships. Design changes can help reduce costs
  5. Quantities of 10,000+
    • The initial design should be reconsidered or raw materials costs and assembly labor will eat into your profits. Start moving your key employees to oversee the manufacture of each component – a small mistake times 10,000 is costly!

Below is a chart that shows the relationship between costs and production volume:

Quantity1s10s100s1000s
Materials CostHighHighModerateLow
Enclosure CostsVery High – buy something closeHigh if Machined, Low if 3D printedModerate if machined, High if moldedLow if injection Molded
Printed Circuit Board CostsVery High – buy dev kitsModerateLowVery Low
Circuit Components CostsHighHighLowVery Low
Assembly LaborDo it yourselfHigh – engineers building demosHigh – your engineers may do itModerate
App InterfaceWait until next phaseHigh initial developmentLow incremental costLow incremental cost