04/01/21 4:43 pm

In product development, you want to do everything in your power to ensure success. You can give yourself an advantage by writing a comprehensive product specification (spec). This document serves as the heart of your product and provides invaluable information to your development and manufacturing team. However, many times people fail to adequately prepare this document, with frustrating consequences. Let’s take a look at the second half of ten mistakes people make when writing their specifications so that you know what to avoid.

#6: Not Researching Existing Patents

Failing to conduct the proper research on whether there are existing patents can result in wasted time and funds. According to a bi-annual survey of intellectual property costs, patent litigation can cost from $250,000 to $2.38 million. If included in the contract, your manufacturer can help research patents and collaborate with you to create a design that won’t infringe on existing ones. Your best solution is investing in a patent attorney to research since they have the exact expertise and experience you need to do so. Ultimately, you want to feel confident that you have an original design that won’t trigger legal action after you’ve already put considerable time and effort into it.

#7: Insufficient Research on Regulations

Always know where you want to sell your product and if it is legal to do so in the target country. Surprisingly, specs often lack proper research about the particular regulations of the countries where a client wants to market the product. You should be aware of what is or is not allowed at the very beginning to avoid a potentially costly redesign process, especially If you want to enter international markets. In certain cases, manufacturers can research regulations, but most of the time they rely on the customer to let them know. Either way, this information will save time and money in the long run.

#8: Not Including Cost Targets

Not including a cost target in your spec will set off alarm bells. A cost target and quantity target (how much of the product you anticipate making) will influence important decisions, including the kind of technology used to create the product. However, a cost target does not represent a static figure, instead, it serves as a crucial starting point for development discussions and a guide for selecting different components.

#9: Inconsistent or Undefined Terminology

This point may feel obvious, but people forget the importance of clarity when creating user-friendly products. To give a user confidence in how they interact with your product, call a feature by the same name every time you mention it. Everything in the product’s spec should be understandable because you’ve defined exactly what you mean by all the included terms. Doing this easy step can revolutionize your product’s user experience. You also do a considerate favor for your team by staying consistent with your terminology.

#10: Poor Environmental & Lifestyle Specifications

Proper environmental and lifestyle specifications ensure your product’s long lifespan. Environmental specifications include how someone should store, transport, and operate your product, anything from the humidity it withstands to its ideal temperature. Manufacturers choose appropriate materials that fit these parameters, and users understand how to handle the product in their care. For lifestyle specifications, consider the lifespan of the product, how the user will repair it, and how it should be disposed of after its lifecycle.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hiring a patent attorney to research patents can save you up to $2.38 million in patent litigation 
  • A cost target is a crucial starting point for development discussions and will help influence important decisions later on. 

Interested in finding out the rest of the product requirement mistakes? Check out our YouTube channel! 

Take Your Product Development to the Next Level

The team at Mars International offers expert experience in industrial product design and development. We prioritize our clients’ success as their products advance from initial concept to manufacturing. Our close collaboration with customers allows us to provide unique solutions that meet your time-to-market, quality, and budgetary needs. If you feel ready to take your product to the developmental stage, reach out to Mars International or call 908-233-0101.