Guide to choosing the right ingredients for an electronic product/device.

When making business decisions about what to have in a product, the decision factor is not binary whereby the decision is based on expensive/affordable among binary options but is a mix of various factors . The factors also depend on geographical location among other factors.

They include:

  • Access to manufacturers and vendors

    An electronic product hinges heavily on the ability to source the cheapest parts that deliver the expected performance for the expected lifetime of the product thus one needs to source and compare from various vendors. The Internet has been of great help to this.

  • Ability to access design and prototyping tools

    Design tools such as Electronic computer aided design(ECAD) and mechanical computer aided design(MCAD)  tools are the link between the designer and the vendors and manufacturers. Such tools output industry standard file outputs that can be understood by all parties allowing one to work with a manufacturer and send design files using the Internet. Point to note is that some of these tools are free while others are non free.

  • Tax complexity and nature of economy

    The tax complexity affects the selling price of goods and this determines the minimum price point you would theoretically be able to sell in order to break even. The problem is further aggravated in developing countries whereby the purchasing power of a people is low and you thus have an upper limit at which one can sell  each product. The nature of the economy(Manufacturing or service) determines the legislations that are passed that affect businesses as a nation wide legislation that positively affects service sectors doesn’t necessarily affect manufacturing sector positively. complexity-fs8

Fig: Simple illustration of cost-benefit variation vs products sold.

  • Device mobility

    Device mobility is very important especially in developing countries where the mobile sector is very vibrant. The smaller and more portable the device the more favorable is its use. According to a statistical report by Gallup group[1] “Nearly two-thirds (65%) of households in 23 countries in sub-Saharan Africa had at least one mobile phone in 2013, with median growth of 27% since 2008 and median annual growth of 5%.” To put it succinctly in my words- “In a mobile world, go mobile or die!”

  • Ready access to the needed, affordable skill set

    The ability to access local skills that one can use when developing a local/ international product. Such knowledge hinges heavily on the local quality of training in the country and the incentives given to the labor market to invest in their skills for this market.

  • Marketing and shifts in marketing practices

    Go mainstream marketing or go on-line marketing?That is a common question asked. It honestly depends on the market one wishes to serve and the ability to receive statistics that one can directly relate to internal business performance. On-line marketing offers this advantages apart from the normal “Daily reach number” quoted by mainstream marketing avenues.

  • References

  1. Africa Continues Going Mobile by Bob Tortora. Gallup group. May 1, 2014.

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