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How Much Time Is Your Company Spending On R&D?

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

There has been a sudden surge in manufacturing that promises to put the country firmly on the map. Home-made products are very popular at the moment as it is important we support homegrown talent and production. With that does come a cost though. For many companies, it is necessary to source components and parts from overseas and then assemble them back home. Still, it’s a good start and promise of greater things for the economy. So why are companies not spending more time on research and development?

A crucial part of your business

Research and development, or R&D, is a crucial part of any manufacturing business. Even if the components are sourced from other countries, time should be spent finding the very best quality and price for each part.

Get ahead of market saturation

More and more companies are building custom drones or UAVs to scan, photograph, or map buildings and landscapes from the air. Many of these businesses rely on existing drones and components so they can customize quickly and cheaply for each client. So what happens when the market is saturated? How can you stand apart in this situation?

Map your product lifecycle

Start with your product lifecycle. You know that products only last for a limited period of time. In the case of the UAVs and other remote controlled devices, you can expect changes in the law, regulations, and technology to force your hand. You’ll soon need to head back to the basics, from the rocker switches to the motor coolers. Beyond the mechanical and electrical comes the coding and programming. Are you prepared for the next shift?

Experimentation is crucial

R&D gives you the chance to pre-empt market changes. As you experiment with what has come before, you can start to explore the possibilities of what might come next. But it will always come down to the application. And who is using the product? Your customers. Every product you develop must solve a problem. It can feel a little “chicken-and-egg” sometimes.

Time and energy costs your business money

Of course, the more time and energy you put into R&D, the more you are spending without an immediate return. How can you tell when enough is enough? What do you define as a budget cap here? That might depend on the industry in which you work. It might also depend on how big your company already is. But there does need to be a budget, and there does need to be a limit. It’s all too easy to bankrupt yourself at this stage.

Know where and when

Scheduling your R&D might help you price up each project. Let’s head back to our product lifecycle. To simplify things, assume just one product exists. It’s doing well but has plateau now that your competitors have caught up. By this point, you should already be looking to redevelop that product to offer a budget option with only basic functionality. But you should also have ideas in the pipeline for the next big project.

You’ve got your customer base, and you should aim to serve them well. R&D often involves focus groups that can shed light on other problems these customers might have that need solving. There is no need to spread too far out or diversify extensively. It will cost you too much time. How much time do you allocate to R&D?

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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