Manufacturing Tips for Launching in a New Market

The conversation discusses the effective, efficient, and reliable introduction and launch of a new product in a new market, focusing on five key tips. These tips include starting small, leveraging manufacturing best practices, determining what is 'good enough' for the new market, using the right suppliers, and maintaining tight communication and collaboration between product development, business, and manufacturing functions.


  • Product Launch
  • Production Planning
  • Manufacturing Partner
  • New Market
  • Manufacturing Best Practices
  • Market Validation
  • Supplier Selection
  • Communication and Collaboration


  • Starting small and validating the market before investing heavily in capital is crucial for a successful product launch.
  • Leveraging manufacturing best practices and determining the quality and reliability standards for the new market are essential for delivering a high-quality product.
  • Selecting the right suppliers for the application and maintaining tight communication and collaboration between key stakeholders are critical for an effective product launch.
  • Collaboration between design, business, and manufacturing functions is imperative.

Full Transcript:

Welcome to the Capital Light Assembly podcast. I am Brandon Bartneck, Vice President and General Manager at Edison Manufacturing and Engineering Edison, your contract manufacturing partner focused on low-volume assembly and integration of complex mobility and mobility-related products that are not well suited for highly automated production. Today, I'm talking about a specific situation: how do you effectively, efficiently, and reliably introduce and launch a new product in a new market?

Maybe you're an existing company with a wide or specialized product range. You're launching something different. How do you do this? Well, geography might be a piece of this, but specifically, look at this through the lens of a new product, a new product type that you're launching. I'll share five tips that we have in mind here.

So, starting at the top, start small. Launching a new product type is messy, especially within the mobility, mobility-related space. It's very dynamic right now, and there are a lot of different factors that are involved and that are going to impact that launch. Don't bet the farm right out of the gate. Don't sink too much into capital. Don't go spend a ton of money setting up a highly automated production line that's capital intensive until you can prove that that product is going to sell at a price point that allows you to make money and that you want to be in that space and that the space will actually justify you being in that space. Be capital efficient. Be flexible and intelligent about how you validate that market while you're also producing your initial units.

Building off of that, tip number two here is to leverage manufacturing best practices to assure a high-quality product, even upfront, in your PV builds, launch, and low-volume production phases. So, if you're going to effectively validate the market, you can't overspend, but you also need a product that you can stand behind.

It is reliable and will get to market on the timeline and with the delivery and quality standard that is acceptable for you. You do that from a manufacturing perspective by starting with best practices. So, the automotive industry is a decent place to look here. You've got to some of the type of product that you're launching in that there are similar practices and so on in any industry, but start with effective quality planning, production planning upfront, and manufacturing engineering, the APQP (Advanced Product Quality Planning) process is a great place to start with your failure modes and effects analysis and control plan and defining a manufacturing process that makes sense and will result in a reliable, consistent product. Use best practices from a supply chain perspective, quality, the way you manage your inventory, and everything, the way you manage your operations. Obviously, start with a trusted, reliable manufacturing process.

But then, to point number three here, intentionally determine what is good enough for this new market. So, if you're launching in a market with a product type different from what you're usually building, that answer will be different from what you're used to. From a system process perspective, you're going to need to change. So, figure out from a quality and a reliability perspective, what is good enough now? And often, we see a case, for now, that companies are coming down in complexity. So, automotive and aerospace companies are launching products in adjacent markets that won't have the same level of quality and reliability expectations that their existing automotive products will, so you can't undershoot. Of course, you need to figure out what good enough is for this market and deliver at or above that. But if you overshoot that, you're going to kill the product before it even has a chance because you're going to put way too much into process, quality, and tooling that will make it nearly impossible for you to validate and improve that market at a price point that allows you to make a good business out of this. So, you need to intentionally figure out the bar for good enough, design your manufacturing supply chain production systems with that in mind, and then deliver on that.

And that builds into the fourth point here. Your suppliers need to do the same thing. So, use the right suppliers for the application. Just like I just said, if you have someone who's used to building at a certain quality level and you have a new product now that's being launched today with a different set of boundary conditions and expectations from the customer base, you can't deliver what you're used to or else you're going to over-engineer it and over price and have too much cost built into that. Maybe you can work with flexible suppliers who can scale up and down. It's much harder to do than it is to say that someone is flexible because you need that built into your cost structure, business practices, and culture. Otherwise, you can't realistically scale up and down to most companies claiming they can actually do it. So, you often see that you have to pick different suppliers for these different applications. So, the person building your windshield for automotive applications will not be the one building it for a micro-mobility application, an off-road application, or a recreational vehicle. It's going to be too expensive. For this new market, you need to find the people with the right processes and cost structure so that they can deliver the quality and cost expectations for this product. That requires likely growing your supply base beyond your existing suppliers because you will have people who will specialize in this new product type.

So, I'll revisit that point, but building on it, the fifth point brings all this together. This can be a messy process. It likely will be a messy process, especially given, like I mentioned, the uncertainty of the product and the fact that you need to adjust so many different variables and the right size, so many different variables. You can only do this well if you maintain tight communication and collaboration between all key stakeholders, and you really can put them in three buckets for all of the product development: the business side, which is the sales, and everything else that goes into building a business out of this, product, and the manufacturing team, whether this is in -house if those are separate entities. This only works if there's tight communication, collaboration, and partnership between those functions. Flexibility is very important. So, you need to be learning, collecting data, sharing that data with each other, and adjusting the process in real-time so you can deliver what's required and launch this product effectively. I don't know how this can work if those three functions exist in silos and need to maintain tight communication and collaboration.

So those are the five points. Start small, validate the market, intelligently leverage manufacturing best practices, determine what good enough is from a reliability and quality perspective for this new market, use the right suppliers for the application, and maintain tight communication and collaboration between the product development, business, and manufacturing functions of this operation.

That may be easier said than done in a lot of situations, especially if you're an existing, large company with a lot of inertia. It's hard to break out of a mold. And even if you have people trying to break out, bringing on additional suppliers in different areas and outside existing networks is tough. Actually, stepping back and understanding new boundary conditions, how that impacts the decisions, and what makes you question the status quo of what works has worked for the life of your company and what works for your other product group like that's a difficult task.

So, we often get brought into this from a manufacturing perspective. It's often easier and more effective, reliable, and efficient to work with someone like Edison, who does this. We right-size manufacturing products, processes, and systems to deliver what is required for different application segments within the mobility space. So, if you are an existing company, and you have something that you're launching that doesn't fit within your existing supply chain and your existing product portfolio, you have to definitely give us a call, and we'll be happy to chat about how we can play this manufacturing role to help bring that to the market. So, as always, I really appreciate it. Thanks for listening.