Prototypes (samples) serve as your base point to make modifications before actual production occurs. They also give you a physical representation to test your products’ functionality & performance. Prototyping adds value to the sourcing process by letting model making workshops modify prototypes & manufacturing specifications faster than the actual manufacturers.

After the prototype is approved, batch runs can be made by rapid prototyping technology. Prototypes can be used to test market receptiveness, without the heavy investment in moulds.

One of the caveats of working directly with the actual manufacturers is that samples (and the further customization of them) come slow. Factories in China are oriented towards securing the order by the second production sample. Fast approaching deadlines may lead to rushed decisions, without fully evaluating product details, which in turn translates to inferior quality goods in mass production.