Virtually nobody decides to come to market with a new product and says “well, no hurry, take as long as you like”! Time is often of the essence when entering a new market. It seems that when a new idea comes up, suddenly lots of people have the same idea. This phenomonon is often referred to as ‘steam engine time’: when the steam engine was invented, no less than seven independent inventors invented different versions of the steam engine within an eighteen month span of time!
If there is little engineering to be done molds may be made rather rapidly – sometimes in the matter if a couple of weeks for simple items. Most often, however, the design and engineering, plus the actual cutting of the metal for production tools takes a matter of several months, with some complex multi-part products taking up to half a year.
Always be aware of the “oh, my gosh” syndrome. Very frequently the first time a completed product is at hand someone will say: “Oh, my gosh, why didn’t we do so-and-so?” There is something about holding a complete product in hand that seems to trigger the inventive instinct to improve on it. Isn’t that what inventors do, after all? This can range from minor improvements (engraving a website or phone number is a favorite) to major changes, and these all add to the time (and expense) to bring the product to market.