Creating Detailed Product Specifications for Production

Monday, 30th July 2012

In order to have a product made from scratch, you need to provide the manufacturer with a detailed list of requirements that the product must contain. This is called the product specification and it is an essential part of the design and manufacturing process.

To create a product specification, you need to break down your product into all of its constituent parts and then describe each of those parts in detail. This forms the basis of your feature list and you can then go on to describe the functions each feature will perform.

You should then provide a list of the characteristics each feature should have, define any values or parameters that are needed and a give a full description of the process that relates to each feature. Also include any exceptions and possible problems that may occur, providing as much information as possible.

The reason the product specification must be created in such detail is so the manufacturer is in no doubt about what it is you want, the materials you want it made from and what the product is expected to be able to do when it is created.

This is hard enough to achieve under normal circumstances, but when you are trying to communicate such information to a foreign manufacturer, who often doesn’t speak English, you are going to have your work cut out for you.

In such circumstances, someone who speaks the language, understands your needs and knows the limitations of the manufacturer is worth their weight in gold. That’s why many offshore manufacturers opt to use the services of local import agents who can represent their interests when they are not able to be there themselves.

A local representative can also inspect your chosen factory for you to ensure the set up is adequate for manufacturing your product to the specifications you require and in the quantities you need.

Once you have created your product specification and the manufacturer has assured you it can be made, you should ask them for a sample of the product. Some manufacturers will not do this, but others will and it is important to get an idea of how your product will look and function.

Remember, a sample is never going to be exactly like your product. It will be made under different conditions to what occurs during mass production (samples are often handmade) and it should only be viewed as a general indication of what the finished product will be like.

Having a sample can be very useful however, as you can have it analysed, perform tests on it and possibly discover potential design flaws or better ways to do things when you have such a prototype to play with.

Once you are happy with the sample and ready to commence production, you should either arrange to attend the factory yourself to witness the first batch being produced, or organise for your import agent to be there on your behalf.

If the product requires tweaking or if any problems arise, it will be much easier to sort things out if there is someone on the ground making decisions, rather than playing phone tag from the other side of the world.

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