Let’s talk about Juicero …

So I just read about Juicero’s membership model and the $699 dollar juice press. While I cannot claim to be a vegan in any way, it is a very trendy thing to drink nutrient rich liquid health. Sounds good anyway. I cannot however, fathom the development program which can end up with a product so…

So I just read about Juicero’s membership model and the $699 dollar juice press. While I cannot claim to be a vegan in any way, it is a very trendy thing to drink nutrient rich liquid health. Sounds good anyway.

I cannot however, fathom the development program which can end up with a product so custom that it starts at the price of a used car. This is just crazy.

I’ve spent my life in product development, with over 4500 programs in my past ranging from simple plastic devices to complex room size products in almost all industries even automotive. After 36 years as a consultant and 34 years of running StudioRed, I can say that we would be fired if we ever designed a product without determining the intended production quantity, production methods applicable for that quantity and a target wholesale cost. I cannot tell you how many times, the client has called after we were done and said, did you know this would cost this much when we designed it? I learned long ago that we are accountable to a product’s success in ways much deeper than good looks, and great performance. If it costs too much, the product will not penetrate the market deeply enough to be viable nor remain successful for long.

I can only imagine that the program got away from them after spending so much toward a bad initial system plan. We call it “creeping commitment” when you think if you just do a little more you can save it and then a little more and little more and so on till you have so much invested that you can’t stop till it’s done. Even if it’s never going to be exactly right. Then when you’ve invested 120millon dollars and it’s too late, you launch. UGH!

I sometimes wonder how smart investors miss some fundamental questions so late in the process. Seems that someone would have asked if the product manufacturing cost was mapped to the user demographic.

We regularly develop programs with the manufacturing process one of the initial questions that is asked and answered. How much do we have for NRE and tooling fees.  How can we best apply the budget we have for the best bang for the buck. We have come in behind situations like this and determined how to reduce manufacturing cost by cost reducing large BOM elements or moving to new processes and techniques to save a program.

I suppose all press is good press, and who knows maybe the revelation of “hand pressed” Juicero juice will make their bag system more desirable, but it seems that fundamental design steps were skipped in developing the juicer. Much like the Space Pen which cost millions of dollars to allow American astronauts to write in space, simpler solutions should have been evaluated in the earlier stages… like the Russians using a pencil. However, if they wish to increase the access for us regular users by dropping the high cost of entry, StudioRed can help them out.

 

 

Share This