Navigating the design to manufacture journey event highlights

Posted on: 30/03/2020

Designing a hardware product is difficult and understanding how to navigate the design to manufacture journey for businesses can be challenging.



Business struggles to navigate the tangled mess between design and manufacture and KTN’s recent event in partnership with Product Design Scotland brought together a network of innovators, manufacturers, designers and partners to consider the stages on this journey and guide people to find the right solutions.


Developing a hardware product is particularly hard. The funding required upfront is significant and there’s extra dependency on 3rd party relationships. The statistics show that more than 80% of tech start-ups fail, but that number increases to 97% when it comes to businesses creating a hardware product.


Understanding market requirements is key to formulating viable product concepts. Engage with designers and manufacturers early to get feedback and a good steer on the product design. Businesses should also look for a manufacturer who will provide agility around their goals, however someone who constantly changes their requirements will inhibit the manufacturing process and could cause budget implications.


We heard from Tristan Elliott, Business Development Director of i4 Product Design at the event who advised that there are 3 questions businesses should consider before starting their design to manufacture journey.

  1. What is the development budget and target unit cost of your product once it is manufactured, assembled and shipped?
  2. What is the experience and capabilities of the assembled team to manufacture?
  3. Who will be responsible for each element on the journey?


Tristan also advised to “Build or partner with a team who has experience with the applicable manufacturing process, keep your supply chain simple and be clear on responsibilities. It is important to have open and frank discussions to ensure everyone is clear and fully informed before engaging”.

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Highlights and feedback from the event

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Panel Session discussion around the challenges facing designers, innovators and manufacturers

How can KTN help?

At KTN we work with businesses and partners to help develop collaborative relationships.

  • We place more focus on building networks in this area to get the expertise they are missing
  • We ensure they are awareness of the challenges
  • We are always looking for new ways to help people collaborate

Through our ecosystem of partners we can help connect innovators, designers and manufacturers to help accelerate the process of getting products to market. So if you need help in this area, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.


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