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How Hardware Startups Can Achieve Long-Term Success

Hardware Startup EngineersResearch shows that 97% of hardware startups fail because they didn’t deliver their product on time, there was a lack of consumer demand, a high burn rate, product strategy mistakes, or regulatory uncertainty.1

Hardware product companies produce a broad range of advanced hardware and equipment ranging from medical devices, battery technology, and cyber-electronics to home appliances, networking tools, and other pioneering technology designed to improve our lives.

Research, design, prototyping, testing, and manufacturing are some of the processes that go into hardware product development. Many early-stage hardware companies going through the product development phase for the first time struggle to manage the process.

Hardware is a physical part of a system or systems (e.g., sensors, gateways, connectivity components, wearable devices). These products can be complex to design. Engineering teams know they need to build a product that requires many steps, but they may be unsure which steps come in which order or what features or tests to prioritize. They usually understand the how of product development, while product management usually adds a layer of why, what, and when to the process.

A vital solution for any product hardware startup

Many startups find themselves in the predicament of discovering their teams don’t have a failsafe method to manage product information. They lack a formal product development process or a clearly defined process improvement plan. This can have disastrous consequences that can crop up at any stage of the process, especially if it’s being managed using tools like spreadsheets.

Whether you’re a fledgling startup or an established company, there are certain aspects of your business you should not overlook—that is, having efficient processes. A modern product lifecycle management (PLM) solution not only does away with spreadsheets—it helps you manage your product’s lifecycle from inception, through design and manufacturing, to sales, service, and eventually end-of-life. It can also help build a foundation for a wide range of new revenue and cost-saving opportunities.

Trying to keep up when speed is of the essence

Keeping your startup afloat can be tricky. The difficulties associated with starting a company have a unique set of challenges to overcome, like costs, prototype models, investments, and labor. For instance, any changes to the product record that are not caught early might result in costly product recalls and scrap.

If you want to get to market fast and innovate continuously, you must align all your information and processes—from the initial idea through to service—on a single platform. If you don’t, you won’t have the ability to scale, quickly address design and quality issues, and you’ll likely miss delivery dates.

Ask yourself if any of the following scenarios apply:

  • Misaligned business expectations.
  • No way to track real-time progress.
  • Hard to calculate cost during the product development phase.
  • Inability to share product information or exchange ideas.
  • Insight into when engineering change orders (ECOs) were made—why/who made them. A single change to an already-in-production design can affect hundreds of associated parts, components, and documents.
  • No integration with other ancillary systems like a quality management system (QMS), computer-aided design (CAD), or enterprise resource planning (ERP).

Hardware Engineers Working

Faster product development, faster commercialization

Startups need to get their product to market first. They need agile processes to adapt to changes in the market and unforeseen disruptions, with flexible agile manufacturing practices. When ramping to production they are bound to face various challenges along the way—from increased competition, new hires, learning new systems, to soaring consumer expectations, to sustainability and social responsibility, as well as mitigating the inevitable hiccups that crop up without warning.

Arena helps remove manual processes and disconnected systems. Those inefficiencies are replaced with more efficient automated processes, better cross-functional team collaboration, and centralized product information accessible anytime and anywhere—resulting in faster product development and faster commercialization.

Arena can help your startup avoid the common pitfalls by:

  • Providing a single source of truth that lets you make faster decisions based on the same information.
  • Enabling geographically dispersed, multidisciplinary teams to strategically collaborate with partners and customers using trusted, current product information.
  • Helping to deliver supply chain agility, business continuity, data governance, and traceability.
  • Residing in the Cloud so your users can securely access PLM information on any device ubiquitously.
  • Accelerating time to market.
  • Driving the highest levels of quality and compliance.
  • Helping to support your sustainability strategy by basing your design and sourcing decisions on the impact they will have on your CO2 footprint.

Helping you achieve long-term success

Developing innovative hardware products is complex. Add manufacturing processes, supply chains, and regulatory requirements to the equation and it all becomes daunting.

There is no doubt, starting a hardware company costs money. After paying the bills there’s little money to put back into the business. Identifying where to spend or where to save on process improvement tools can be challenging; however, bringing Arena into your startup can help you align your product development process with strategies for achieving long-term quality in your early stages.

Learn how Arena can reduce your costs and accelerate your ROI.

Further reading:

Sources cited

  1. Five Common Pitfalls Of Hardware Product Development (And How You Can Avoid Them)