Rapid Product Realization (RPR) Center

Need for Rapid Product Realization Center

A critical time in the development of a new manufacturing company is the product realization stage, that is, the period from the moment that a new product has been conceived through the prototyping stage and into limited production. Inventors and entrepreneurs struggle with this stage because the process of early product development usually requires resources that are not readily available and capabilities that are often beyond the skills of the inventor/entrepreneur. And yet, the invention and development of new products is the lifeblood of technological growth.

Re-establishing a Utah RPR Center

WestCAMP is proposing to re-establish the Rapid Product Realization (RPR) Center in a modified organizational format to address these product development needs in the State of Utah. The original Rapid Product Realization Center has been operated at Brigham Young University since the early 1990s as part of the State of Utah Centers of Excellence Program. That center has assisted well over 100 inventors/entrepreneurs and achieved notable successes with products such as a snow clip for preventing snow slides off roofs, composite mine supports, plastic linkages for putting insulation on tilt-up walls, a mini trampoline, and orthopedic braces to correct infant foot alignment.

The strength of an RPR Center is bringing together the expertise and resources located at a university with inventors and entrepreneurs in the community. This synergy provided inventors with the means to rapidly have a prototype built and to move into production. The system also allowed students to participate in the development process and to gain experience that would not normally be available through the typical college curriculum.

The new RPR organizational format would place an RPR center in each of the major regions of the State of Utah where a Regional Business Development Center is to be located. These would be near Weber State University, Utah Valley State University, Southern Utah University, and, perhaps, Dixie College. Each of these centers would be headed by a full-time director whose sole responsibility would be the work of the center. An overall administrator would be named to assist the regional center directors with training, coordination and linkage to resources across the state, and integration with providers of assistance for on-going manufacturing firms which would be the next step in development for the small start-up companies.

Proposal Timeliness

The State Board of Regents is currently sponsoring a line-item in the state budget to create and then maintain Regional Business Development Centers at Weber State University, Utah Valley State University, Southern Utah University, and Dixie College. At a coordination meeting in November 2005, representatives from these colleges and the board agreed that WestCAMP would provide the resources to combine their separate proposals into a single document that would receive the backing of all. In that meeting, the concept of re-establishing the RPR Centers as part of the Regional Business Development Centers was presented and, generally, well received.

In anticipation of funding by the State of Utah in 2006, WestCAMP proposes to establish the RPR centers now so they can be in place and their inclusion in the Regional Business Development Centers will be facilitated. Moreover, these RPR centers will improve the manufacturing capability of the state and, therefore, clearly meet the stated objectives of WestCAMP.

Operation and Management

The RPR Center Directors in each of the regions will coordinate with the local university but, in order to facilitate the coordination of their efforts to the entire state system and to immediately staff these centers, the Center Directors will be employees of WestCAMP. (They may technically be part of the Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership.) The overall state administrator will be handled by Dr. Brent Strong who has been the Director of the BYU RPR Center. This management system will allow the experience of the past to be most efficiently applied to the proposed RPR program.

An element that has proven to be very powerful in the RPR Center is outreach. This means that rather than just developing a technology and then trying to push it into the marketplace (as the current Centers of Excellent system does), the RPR system will reach out to inventors and entrepreneurs. Marketing announcements will be prepared to inform the citizens of the State of Utah about the RPR centers and to invite them to use the services.

A student internship program will be part of the concept to assist the students and to reduce the overall cost of the program. The highly successful internship program that is part of the Manufacturing Leadership Forum at BYU will be the model for the new RPR center internships.

Request to Participate

Utah RPR Center Project

If you have specific questions about the proposed Utah RPR Center Project, or would like to participate directly in one or more of the Center's project activities, please contact WestCAMP. There is also a white paper on this website that will help you understand more about the proposed RPR Center project.

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