Scale your product manufacturing in iterative steps and you are more likely to succeed - tharsus

Scale your product manufacturing in iterative steps and you are more likely to succeed

By Jason Penney

From product design to product manufacturing

We know that success for our customers is the commercial reward that flows from getting your new tech product successfully manufactured and into its market.  However, this success is completely dependent on your product’s readiness to scale.

How resolved is your product for volume manufacture?

Put simply, in any new product introduction process, it’s not possible to jump from making only one of something to 101 of something — in a single step.   A product which has been made once is likely to be a long way off being fit for volume manufacture. While the focus up to this point has been the product functionality and performance, it is necessary to increase the emphasis on the manufacturing process to bring about repeatability and consistency.

This typically entails a lengthy and complex journey of iterative refinement for a product.  Through experience we can identify and simplify the ‘waypoints’ on this journey by focussing on clear deliverables. With this staged journey, scale manufacturing is more likely to succeed in a considered manner because it provides greater clarity on product definition and process.

For many though, this journey is a bridge too far.  Because many tech owners don’t have the space, financial resources, time or manufacturing expertise to embark on scale manufacture successfully. And as a result, they’re often putting their product and their business at unnecessary risk.

Product design with volume manufacture front of mind

Here at Tharsus, over the last 60 years, we’ve gained deep experience of the complex process of getting early-stage hardware to scale manufacture in a multitude of market sectors from electrification and energy storage solutions to logistics and warehousing.  We’ve built up a multi-disciplinary team with the optimal mix of skills to deliver successful scale manufacturing for our customers.

Scale manufacturing is in our DNA

What’s more, our own commercial model of Solve + Scale + Supply is wrapped around your product’s ability to scale.   At our core, we are a contract manufacturer.  This means the service we offer in helping you get to scale manufacture is largely our own skin in the game — because we ultimately want to manufacture your product successfully for you.  Customers from Ocado, Automata, CMR, FreeWire, Rolls-Royce and BMW have come to appreciate the very real impact and added value we bring to their products’ success.

Our unique approach to scale manufacturing

How we do it is through a unique approach to manufacturing called “The Key.”  It’s unique in a sense that it is robust enough to keep your journey to manufacturing on track, yet retains the agility and flexibility to navigate and pivot around the problems which may appear along the way.

The typical value we deliver to our customers includes:

  • Accelerated speed to market
  • Accelerated innovation
  • Improved product quality
  • Increased throughput (as a result of more efficient manufacturing)
  • Reduced capital investment

From unresolved design to small batch manufacturing

It starts with understanding how well resolved your product is for manufacturing.   From there, we’re able to define the journey your product needs to take, and we’ll assign the optimised resources to get it there.

Enter UK robotics start-up, Q-Bot

For example, Q-Bot is a UK-based robotics start-up who’ve created a fleet of robots which can be deployed under floorboards to apply a coating of insulation to the underside of floors.  Q-Bot found itself on the brink of success when they came to us in 2021.

They showed us that their prototype bot had generated serious market demand and an impressive order book, but it could not fulfil on that demand without a sharp scale-up in manufacturing.  Like many tech companies before them, they were tempted to move straight into volume manufacture in the hundreds from their single prototype.

A multi-disciplinary team to solve your problems

However, their design team knew that if the prototype wasn’t well enough resolved for manufacture, their scale up could potentially fail.   So, too would their business.  Understanding that we could solve this problem for them, they came to Tharsus and our multi-disciplinary team, consisting of the following expertise:

  • Electro-mechanical assembly
  • Supply chain optimisation through secondary and tertiary supply chains
  • Statutory HSE
  • Quality accreditation compliance
  • Product documentation
  • Material control and stock compliance
  • Risk assessments
  • Manufacturing process audits

Sure enough, their prototype was not yet ready for volume manufacture.  Applying our “Key” approach, it led us to develop a design for manufacturing pack and a pilot cell set up.  We then proceeded to manufacture a small batch run of 5 bots to allow us to build a deep understanding of the product’s manufacturing needs.

De-risking manufacture through iterative product refinements

From here, we made suggestions to Q-Bot for design refinements, which significantly simplified the product and reduced cost to manufacture and at the same time, enhanced its reliability and functionality.  So, once in the market — launching later this year – the product will be more effective and more profitable.

Collaboration creates a strong foundation for commercial success

Another unique part of our formula for success — for Q-Bot and many other customers — is based on a close collaborative partnership that involves trust, shared outcome as well as cooperation, coordination, and strong communications.  We know a collaborative partnership ultimately reaps financial reward for us and our customers.

Wherever you are on your journey, let’s explore what we can do

Whether your product is ready to manufacture and you’re weighing up the pros and cons of taking this on yourself, or you have started manufacturing yourself but are questioning how well it’s working out, we’ll be happy to chat with you about how we can help.

Jason plays a crucial role in our collaboration with customers, leading on our early-stage engagement with them to ensure we have the right level of support, systems and preparation in place to perfectly support our customer's product journey from the outset.

Ready to discuss your complex challenge?