Implementing an Efficient Minimum Viable Product in Industry 4.0

The worldwide technological IT evolution has been keeping its pace of growth and extension for years now. From the introduction of 3D printing, smart data visualization, and location tracking to Big Data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, advanced fraud detection, etc. The industry has come a long way to become as advanced as it is right now.
In 2020, we call it Industry 4.0 and it is looking to grow up to €185 billion in market value by 2022. In turn, the Industry 4.0 startups must be engaging, authentic, and up to date. The market competition as fierce as nowadays is unforgiving to anyone introducing a new project to the diverse realm of manufacturing automation.

And that's where a minimum viable product (MVP) comes in as a real game-changer, allowing you to test out the basic idea of a new product among the real target audience and decide whether it's worth continuing to work on. With MVP, you basically give a taste of what you have in store to the audience of users.

Based on their engagement and feedback, you can see how much potential there is in the expansion of your basic product for further promotion and distribution in the market. This is a well-tried-and-tested commercial technique that takes but a couple of essential stages to implement.

The Essential Goals of MVP

Building an MVP beforehand is an efficient, hugely popular practice that brings both user and provider benefits by:

  • Allowing to see approximately how the startup will do at the particular moment, in the particular circumstances;

  • Helping to achieve utter user satisfaction and meet the market demands more precisely;

  • Letting combine functionality and minimalism to hit the right spot on the market at the first full release and save lots of costs on efficient product expansion.
At the same time, keep in mind that MVP is unlikely to be a good way to make some initial profit - you will probably not get any profit whatsoever, with the main goal to explore and pinpoint the audience. You may also forget about "showing-off" visually with an intricate design - the core functionality and minimalism are of the essence here.

What is MVP about

MVP Stage by Stage

  • Initially, you settle with a basic concept of your product based on the problem it will be helping users solve. With this understanding in hand, it is easier to build particular expectations as to the user feedback (you'll know how they are to react much better);

  • It is necessary to check on your competitors in the field to make sure you have different selling points and can create an authentic minimum viable product design in your particular niche;

  • Analyze the statistics on user engagement in the field and try to set the bar for how many users you should expect to be interested in the idea you offer at the start;

  • Compose the list of all features you expect to see in your product in the long run. Then, prioritize them and focus on implementing an MVP with only the core, essential functionality;

  • Once getting a finished MVP, it's all a thing of multiple target audience trials and feedback analyses. User reactions must be thoroughly learned and responded to via an updated or tweaked functionality and characteristics.

5 Things to Avoid or Be Careful About

To provide you with some further pro tips on handling an MVP most successfully, let us highlight what you shouldn't do and what to better avoid on the path of the MVP market introduction. Here are the top 5 common mistakes you'd better steer clear off when implementing a modern MVP solution.

#1 - Trying to make it all chic and astounding right away

We can't stress strongly enough how the best MVP is about the essence, the soul of the product - its ability to tackle particular goals and/or issues. One shouldn't waste excessive energy on too many additional minimum viable product design features. All the minor things that you are looking to implement in a full-blown product can be simply described for users' future expectations.

#2 - Oversimplifying an MVP

This may sound a bit contradictory to the statement above, but your MVP must still be necessarily viable. And this means that, in case of many profiled projects, throwing a bare mockup of the product out there to the public likely just won't do the trick. For instance, creating an MVP for 3D printing, certain complex printing management features should be able for trying out. And if it is an MVP for IoT, inter-device connection capabilities are better prioritized above all.

#3 - Messing with the systematic approach

The implementation of a minimum viable product should be taken as a full-on development process that requires planning out, subdivision by stages, and a consistent, systematic approach overall. The best you can do with the development workflow, in this case, is to go little by little, adding up functionality based on thorough prioritization and level of importance.

This can be defined as a so-called cupcake model where you do everything:
Essentially, you don't jump to the conclusions - you first demonstrate the "wheels" of your product, then add a "steering wheel" for users to try and manipulate it, then all the rest of the desired, more complex functionality for the final release.

#4 - Missing out on the user feedback

At every stage of your MVP introduction and trialing, it is crucial to gather and analyze user feedback. Your audience's points of view, requests, and notes should be reflected in tweaking certain features up, removing others, and optimizing particular places for the desired performance and use results. Keep in mind that this feedback attentiveness is what will help you predict the overall success of the project.

#5 - Going for non-relevant solutions

Many startup founders tend to tap into eventually useless concepts by virtue of using the lean startup principles (which allows achieving maximum user-orientedness) to create user-focused solutions fast and expect fast profits. However, without the thorough market inspection and the firm knowledge that the potential demand may be expected, you risk offering an initially low-demand solution. Simply because the particular market niche is already filled with similar solutions from competitors.

Using MVPs in Practice–Case Examples

The most important thing with all the MVP affairs is to settle with the proper concept that will be focused on your particular niche and goals. How do market players work on their MVPs in practice?

We can take a look at least at these two prominent on-demand manufacturing minimum viable product examples.

eCozy is a German startup tapping into enhancing the convenience of climate control at home. The project offered an advanced thermostat with a touchscreen and remote controls via a dedicated application for a smart heating solution. Currently, it is an innovative product with an international demand that is distributed in multi-million markets.

Being implemented, the startup took a few years to reach its final success, drawing in all the required initial investments in 2014, announcing the product during Indiegogo in 2016, and releasing an MVP that hit the retail stores for collecting user feedback in the middle of 2016.

Minimum viable product examples–application for a smart heating solution
ECozy: IoT application for Smart Home Automation Service
Then, there's MakeTime - a US-made on-demand, Manufacturing-as-a-Service platform focused on 3D printing and CNC machining. A solution, which aimed at connecting CNC machine vendors and buyers, had grown from the initial prototype that was turned into an MVP with the goal of raising two rounds of funding.

Eventually, the finished solution has gathered an audience of 1,000+ dedicated manufacturers. In 2018, it was profitably purchased by the leading on-demand manufacturing company Xometry.
Treat the MVP creation responsibly and you may go a long way with your product, reaching truly successful prospects instead of wasting time on creating alternatives and going through different options. In general, Agile methodology may be much more efficient in the case of creating an MVP as opposed to the Waterfall practices - keep this in mind. Employed technologies are also crucial and this is where we believe that Ruby on Rails does the most magic.

Anyway, if you are looking for a fully professional approach and final solution built based on the proper experience and expertise - we are here for you. The above pro tips are the least we can do for you - use them to your benefit or contact us to discuss the details of your future MVP project implemented by the dedicated specialists.
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