Why The Timeline from Concept to Production Has Diminished

In today’s world, processing and manufacturing are all about speed without compromising quality. Processing orders faster is one key to success. People place an order and want their order processed as soon as possible. Life was never like this; it used to be more laid back.

Around 100 years ago, traveling from Europe to New York would take six months by sea, and that’s if you were fortunate enough to make it safely and in good health.

Today, that eight-hour flight seems like it takes forever, and if there is a delay, everyone nags and complains because of the delay! What normally took six months now takes eight hours, and yet a small delay causes chaos to erupt.

Here’s how I see it, and one way to look at it.

Products and services are created according to the laws of supply and demand. If there is a demand for something, someone will create a business to provide that product or service and make a profit doing so. It’s what moves us forward and keeps innovating.

Back in the ’70s, when I was a kid, I remember seeing new products on the shelf of a department store, maybe once or twice a year.

Let’s take a simplified example.

Think of any household appliance — the general process would have designers come up with a design by hand, get it approved. Once approved, they would build a clay model. Once that was approved, they would move on to create a working prototype.

Once tested and approved by sales and marketing as well as upper management and other departments, the product would be on its way to production, soon to be sitting on the department store shelves.

Let’s look at the timeline for a few of the above processes.

Creating the initial design by hand. To do this it could take an artist anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Now, with the help of computer-aided design (CAD) programs, the same design can be done in hours.

Creating the clay model. This process could have taken weeks or months to have the final model ready for approval. Keep in mind any changes, and the clay would have to be reshaped to the new specification, and that is a time-consuming process.

Today, with CAD programs, you can visualize the product on your computer screen and have exact measurements from the same program the designer used. So, from drawing to visualization to dimensions — which, back in the ’70s, could take a few months to complete — can now be completed in a few days.

Even though some of the processes from the ’70s are still used today, the overall speed of the entire process is much faster, allowing people to create products quicker and get them from the design stage to the store shelf at a pretty impressive rate.

Sometimes, I go into a store and see an entirely new line and style of products, and think, “I was just here a couple of weeks ago when did they come up with this?” A few weeks go by, and again there’s something new. It’s because of the technology we have.

If you were a parts manufacturer, there could be some parts where you go from concept to customer delivery in days because of the advances in 3-D printing.

The future has a lot more in store for us. Hold on to your hats.

That’s The Way I See It
Acey Gaspard