I learned in the apple 5 class: how to design and production of hardware products

no matter how beautiful your new products, how beautiful, as long as you have not been able to make it efficient, consistent, affordable, it is doomed to be a tragedy.


create beautiful and functional hardware products, will be more difficult than it has ever been a era, which due to lack of money demand and entrepreneurial teams hardware development experience. Work at apple let me have a chance to get some hardware design and manufacturing experience. These experiences may be beneficial to entrepreneurial teams. Their creative and not suffered setbacks products directly to the market, the result is likely to be failure, which probably due to the failure can avoid and prevent errors. The following is what I give 5 tip:

1. into a wire factory

in the link, I have seen too many such people: on a trip to China, pick a manufacturing partner, and never go to visit each other. The company finally presented listed products will be a large number of all kinds of problems. If step into manufacturing plants, and a line manager and operator to communicate, you will be surprised to find you can learn a lot of manufacturing process, and know more about your manufacturing partner. Look paltry information from the plant or in the future can help you to redefine your product design and technological level and or further discuss factory management.

2010 years, we have reached a the next nine months in China to improve orders 50% supply agreement. Months passed, and all the men in my team visited the factory, so I also went to see if production equipment is the corresponding expansion, by the way. To my surprise, only half of the new equipment needed for the expansion in order. After talking with the process manager, we know that they did not have enough resources to accomplish our plan. Then needless to say, we have to communicate with more senior managers to get return orders capacity expansion to orbit.

2. structure most real prototype

The face of a

, 3 d print factory with rapid prototyping shop quickly throughout all over the United States. You can get close to the actual manufacturing cost of the prototype, in this a must not think of saving money, the cost will be worth it. Is repeated in the prototype stage to reset the prototype, make it more perfect. In that case, when the mass production product, you need only one pace reachs the designated position. The plastic part of the batch grinding tool may take up to 5 $, such, after has started mass production, when you find the product of a two form not good coordination integration agreement, it will be even threatening to kill your company is the most excellent way.

prototype of practical situation of another benefit is that your project team will be able to quickly iteration products. 3 d prototype development only takes a few days can complete, such relative to other takes four to six weeks to complete development is to save time. Promote the overall development to accelerate the drive cycle speed, at the same time, also can reduce development costs. Rapid development will also be able to make your products more quickly than your competitors products to the market!

3. about the mass production, China is not the only option

at the same time, you need to check your entire supply chain costs. If you produce products in China, you need a detailed calculation: how do you take it to the United States, where is the packaging, import taxes and fees, and how to solve one thousand product is defective, and lots of other problems. Each factor may be implied some cost, when combined, entrepreneurial teams sometimes will eventually found made in China is not necessarily the optimal price.

on the other hand, you can also find closer to your customers. In Mexico, for example the claw dara o ‘hara, you can benefit from the confirm tariffs and reduce logistics cost, let alone Labour costs.

4. products listed just start

once the products on the market (for congratulation!) , you need to resist to sit down rest sat watching the temptation of all things to happen. On the contrary, should be like a hawk to monitor your supply base. This is why apple has thousands throughout product market supply chain experts around the world. Things go bad, they will go bad faster. Actively monitor data change, and to maintain in the supply chain and supply chain nodes have a transparent relationship directly, will prevent a lot of problems.

when it comes to tracking data, lack of experience of start-up team in huge amounts of data and the modern supply chain tracing information in seconds before. Level of apple’s team also can’t avoid the problem of supply chain. You have to do is find your data points and to establish information reporting system, daily or weekly tracking these key points for the unit to produce see if trouble is taking shape.

, for example, my team to 22 factories by merely 6 spreadsheet, monitoring more than 10 $year purchases.

careful planning and forecasting way will go farther, to ensure that the data can be used to find and solve problems effectively.

5. Tim Cook right inventory is “the root of all evil”

many start-up team didn’t realize I’ve met, excess inventory will be how much the rapid destruction of a small company. Simple in general, the inventory manager, should never save more than you, absolutely sure enough demand (this, of course, easier said than done). Before the start of the production, set the feasible inventory turnover days. If inventory exceeds the predetermined level, immediately shut down your supply chain, shut it down completely.

frankly you, when you don’t finish can sell them, you can’t afford to let the cost of more products into the market. You may find that you will be to your supply chain is an uncomfortable low production yield, but this is not relative to the pain of writing off large quantities of inventory, it isn’t worth mentioning. If you don’t agree with this method, please refer to the RIM 2011 4.85 $inventory write-off case.

oh, one more thing: an “impossible” to get rid of any of the engineer. No optimistic and enterprising spirit of the people in the start-up team that kind of place without it. Is that kind of attitude can infect and toxicity, will be conducive to team effort to innovation. These be challenged strongly stimulate, unremitting commitment to make the production process, more zero tolerance for mistakes, to further expand the scale of historically, will be a hardware entrepreneurship vitality root cause of the organization.

the authors currently studying at Stanford university’s business school, at the same time as Stealth HD of , the company created for the army and radio companies 360 new video technology. Previously, he worked in Square worked with apple.