5 Indicators That Its Time to Bring RP In-House
1. When your use of a rapid prototyping service bureau is fairly consistent. An alternative scenario: Peak levels of use, followed by a barren stretch, followed by another spike. This is a recipe for outsourcing rapid parts making. Under this scenario a rapid prototyping system will be insufficient during the high times, and underutilized during off times.
2. When your product development is on the low down. Sure, every service bureau will sign a nondisclosure agreement. But if you are developing the next iPhone and your job and your company's fortunes are riding on its secrecy, there is no point in taking a chance.
3. When you just can't wait until tomorrow to get a rapid prototype in your hand. Most of the service companies will promise next day delivery, but unless you reside on the same street, no one is providing same day service.
4. When you have developed the resources to run and maintain it. It is a wasted purchase if users aren't properly trained, or if provisions for service aren't accounted for.
5. When it makes financial sense. At the end of the year, would it cost less to own your own? Also, perhaps there are tax advantages of owning or leasing. Just remember: Like with a computer, the useful life of the machine will be limited. Industry advances are such that rapid prototyping technologies are obsolete within a few years.