196: How to Ensure You Are Ready for Product Manufacturing

196: Common Gaps Being Ready for Manufacturing

October 5, 2023

With Laura Teicher, President of FORGE

Hosted by Kevin Mako, President of MAKO Design + Invent

196: Common Gaps Being Ready for Manufacturing

Laura is the President of FORGE, a not-for-profit organization that helps specifically hardware startups in scaling from prototyping to manufacturing growth. They have worked with over 700 physical product startups to ensure that those companies are a commercial success by ensuring new product manufacturing is done right. Today, Laura is going to share valuable knowledge for inventors, startups, and small manufacturers on how to ensure your product is designed properly and correctly for manufacturing, how to ensure your documentation is complete, and how to best approach contract manufacturers to transition your developed product into a successful first manufacturing run. 

Here are the key takeaways from the episode:

  • The importance of building a simplified design for manufacturing
  • Design for manufacturing is required to ensure the product is ready for production, and does not need any more design to complete to what is needed for market or for reliability or for certifications.
  • What to do when you haven’t tested enough the design
  • There is a false assumption that manufacturers are going to fix your design problems.
  • Use design firms to do design for manufacturing, specifically
  • The effects of a lack of manufacturing documentation
  • Reaching out to partners too soon

Episode Highlights

  • 4:25 – Steps to Successfully Scaling Your Production: Really thinking through what you need for your design – 1) overdesigning and 2) under designing, 3) Having rigor, strategy and documentation, and 4) Networking
  • 4:50 – Making sure you are working with the right people and evolving your relationships
  • 5:55 – Think through what you need to successfully scale your production to avoid over-designing and under-designing
  • 6:50 – Simplifying is key when thinking about design for manufacturing
  • 7:40 – Think about the practicality of the design parallel to its simplicity in short-run manufacturing processes
  • 10:45 – Do not make assumptions that the contractor, suppliers, etc. will understand the purpose of the design and will work out the kinks
  • 11:20 – Recognize where you don’t have the expertise and find help to bridge any gaps in the design process
  • 13:00 – All of your documentation MUST be in order! Do not avoid documenting your processes – this is what will allow you to pass off work and ensure it maintains fidelity at scale
  • 14:10 – Make sure your contracts are clear and tight
  • 14:50 – Consider making a “Manufacturing Pack” that includes all CAD documentation, sketches, etc.
  • 18:50 – Ensure you have adequate traction to engage with contractors. Exploratory conversations are encourageable so long as you are honest about being in an early stage.
  • 19:40 – Get help getting ready! Do not jump the gun – this may hurt the relationship
  • 23:00 – FORGE offers plenty of free resources to help you understand the design process, build relationships, etc.

Laura Teicher Links:


The Product Startup Podcast Links:

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Mako Design Links:

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Kevin Mako Links:

Instagram | LinkedIn | Quora | Facebook | Twitter

Partner: PTC’s best-in-class software solutions Onshape: The only cloud-native product development platform that delivers full-featured computer-aided design (CAD), integrated product data management (PDM) and enterprise analytics in a single system, and Creo: 3D CAD solution that provides designers with the most innovative tools to build better products faster, such as generative design, additive manufacturing, real-time simulation, IIoT, and augmented reality.

Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories.