Time to market

Time to market is a strategic business decision. Bringing a product to the market before your competitor does is important. It helps you to gain higher market share. It also helps you to get higher prices for your product when there is less competition.

Bring products to the market faster than traditional manufacturing.

The traditional model of product development involves the following steps:

  1. Design a product
  2. Make mold for prototype
  3. Make prototype
  4. Test the prototype
  5. Make design revision
  6. Make new mold for next Rev.1 prototype
  7. Make Rev.1 prototype

This process is iterative. If the number of revisions is high, the lead time and costs go up. The cost of molds and patterns are be high. So are their lead times. This makes prototyping a time consuming and expensive exercise.

Additive manufacturing improves this product development step. The steps for additive manufacturing could be:

  1. Design a product
  2. Print the product
  3. Test the product
  4. Make design revision
  5. Print Rev.1

This is also an iterative process. The difference is that there are no molds and patterns. Thus the most expensive and time sensitive step gets removed. This helps in speeding up the product development timeline.

Both traditional and additive manufacturing have similar timelines in the early stages. Once product design starts, additive manufacturing timeline runs much faster. In this example, the product hits the market in 22 months with additive manufacturing. The same product can take up to 32 months with traditional manufacturing.

A product entering the market 10 months later can mean a lot. Its product adoption and product margins can be much lower than if it had hit the market earlier.

The unit price of a product decreases over a time, due to competition. The highest margin is when competition is the least. This will be when the product is first introduced.

The chart below explains the concept.

3d printing time to market

Based on the diffusion of innovation according to Evertt Rogers. 

Additive manufacturing improves time to market. This results in higher product prices and higher profits.