“Pete and his team at STAK did a few design tweaks and were able to get the cost cut down to a third of what the original quotes were.” – Kurt Workman, Owlet Baby Care
We divide the product designing and development process into four stages – which can look very different from project to project depending on the product and logistical constraints. The goal is always to minimize risks and maximize potential sales.
Stage 1: Ideation and Scope Definition
We review your proposed idea or project and brainstorm to determine what you are trying to accomplish. We provide significant input and end up with a pretty good feeling of whether this is a good fit for us and if we feel that the project is viable. This can take anywhere from several hours to a couple of weeks.
Stage 2: Viability Analysis
We obtain preliminary pricing from factories and identify the ideal manufacturing processes to use based on the project needs. This might involve using a flexible process for smaller quantities to minimize tooling and mold costs – such as laser cutting. Or, it may be determining tool and mold prices to reduce unit costs with a process such as injection molding.
At the conclusion of this stage we have a game plan – we have a fairly good idea of how much engineering time will be required, an estimate on unit costs, and any mold or tooling costs that might be required for the project. At this stage, we try and have an agreement signed that outlines our engagement including payment terms, billing rates, deliverables, etc. This stage can take anywhere from a week to several weeks.
Stage 3: Design and Validation
This is where we execute our game plan and where the real fun begins. Many projects will require several iterations of prototypes and samples before and after any tooling begins. Occasionally we create samples that are used for photo shoots and marketing purposes before production begins.
This stage is the most challenging as it includes the actual product designing and engineering; refinement of the design; as well as defining all of the technical requirements and parameters for production. The entire stage can be a very tedious process that goes beyond the production stage – it is an ongoing refinement and improvement process that will last the lifetime of the product or product line. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Stage 4: Production
As soon as the design and samples have been validated, production can begin. Because we integrate the factories into the product development process right from the start, there is no delay between completing and validating the design to production. At this stage, we shift from design, engineering, and product development to working on producing scalable quantities of your product and getting them on their way to your warehouse or fulfilment center. Production times are 30-45 days for most products, and door-to-door shipping to most places in the U.S. takes about 30 days.