Specifications and things
Often however, the client is a manufacturer new to the electronics industry but with substantial expertise in their own product area. It would be unrealistic for TLA Microsystems to expect such a client to provide a full and formal specification document, as to do so would not only restrict them from options they are unaware of, but may also result in a product with strengths in unimportant areas and average performance in the critical areas.
The electronics industry is one with many differences from 'normal' manufacturing. The quantity to be manufactured plays an important role, not only in pricing of components, but also in the manufacturing techniques used. Often, things that appear to be simple or commonly found on consumer items, can be restrictive and expensive in small and moderate volumes. This is obviously an area where the experience and broad knowledge base of TLA Microsystems can have a marked effect on the bottom line.
A good starting point is to summarise in a few sentences, what the product is to do and one or two main requirements. eg "This device measures water temperature. It is a handheld device and will record multiple readings. " The next most important item is an idea of the numbers involved and a target price. This can be as vague or as specific as is known at the time, but it must be honest. eg. "We are involved in the sport fishing industry and expect to sell around 10,000 units if a target price of $20 can be achieved.". or "The product is for professional use. There is nothing comparable on the market and we can't determine a price until we determine if the idea is feasible".
Now spend some time listing anything and everything that relates to the product and then sort them in order of importance or mark them into categories: "Must haves", "nice to haves" and "frills". This list is by no means firm but it serves to document the items to be discussed and factored into the final product. Usually there are single items that are cost/benefit breakpoints. If such an item is near the top of the "nice to have" list but is the difference to having or not having many of the "frill" items, this can be pointed out at the earliest possible time. Including notes on items which are strong marketing features or relate to customer perception are also important.
The process described above is merely a suggestion. The object is to merge your expertise in your product area, with that of TLA Microsystems. It is important that you end up with the product you wanted, rather than something that sounds similar on paper.