In January 2017, Samuel Foster had an expensive decision to make. An inspiration that started in college led him to pursue inventing a unique creation in order to self-teach the skills he otherwise might have learned by pursuing an expensive M.B.A.—and ProtoCAM was there to help bring his product to life.
Foster is the inventor of the Snap Shot Flask, and the founder of Adaptive Measuring. He first conceived of the product while pursuing his undergraduate business degree; he was asked to consider a problem relevant to him and how to solve it. “At the time, one of the scary concerns was knowing what you were drinking and how much you were drinking,” Foster recalls. He refined the idea further to conceive of a product that was convenient to bring to parties and would be safe from tampering: a plastic flask with snap-on shot glasses.
Developing the idea for the Snap Shot Flask started Foster down the path towards looking into actual product development, patenting, and manufacturing. “I started doing the patent research around the kind of devices that would attach to the bottoms or tops of bottles,” Foster says. He realized he had a unique idea on his hands, but as a career-driven individual, Foster also was looking into graduate business degree options at the time.
A Costly Decision
Foster recalls the difficult consideration he faced in choosing between investing his savings in a higher degree, or in pursuing his inspiration. “As I got to looking into the M.B.A. process… it’s just so expensive,” Foster says. As he reviewed the numbers, he realized that creating and manufacturing the Snap Shot Flask wasn’t likely to cost him as much as attending a 2-year business school would.
His final decision was made when Foster recalled how he had developed what he considers his best skill while working in the pharmaceutical wholesale industry: public speaking. “[Public speaking] wasn’t something that I formally learned in undergraduate business classes. Speaking to a tired group of employees and getting them to push through a 13-hour shift to get deliveries out to hospitals isn’t something you can learn in school,” Foster says. Foster ultimately decided that he could acquire the same wide range of knowledge—about marketing, packaging, manufacturing, intellectual property, and more—that he’d expected to learn in business school by bringing his invention to life instead.
Diving into the Process
As Foster got deeper into the inventing process, he realized there was a lot to learn; in particular, he discovered the full scale of the process of the realization of a product, from beginning as an idea, to determining if the product is actually producible, to mass production and distribution. “I think that’s such a big part of what ProtoCAM was able to do for me, and that not all 3d printing companies can do. ProtoCAM has the background in manufacturing, which helped create a product that easily transitioned to the manufacturing stage,” Foster says. Because ProtoCAM understands the full manufacturing process—from conception, to design, to prototyping, to production—and can guide our customers through the process with experienced advice and recommendations, we provided a unique service to Foster: a full turnkey solution to product creation.
Ed Graham, ProtoCAM’s Vice President of Additive Manufacturing, was impressed by Foster’s enthusiasm and eagerness to learn more about the manufacturing process and the undertaking of inventing and developing a product. “Education is a huge part of this process, and our experience in the industry helped to guide [Foster] along the way,” Graham says.
Communication is Key
As a local Lehigh Valley company, ProtoCAM also provided another important service to Foster’s journey: constant and clear communication. “I had reached out and talked to manufacturers in India, I had talked to manufacturers in China, one in Pakistan, and one of the big things, especially when you’re relaying ideas, is dealing with a communications gap,” Foster says. Foster’s conceptual idea needed to be communicated clearly between both parties in order to fully create his vision. “Me being able to explain and [the team at ProtoCAM] being able to tell me what’s a good idea, what’s not possible, what’s not likely in terms of manufacturing, etcetera, was really helpful to get those first iterations right,” Foster emphasizes.
Expanding and Adapting
ProtoCAM was able to fully guide Foster through the manufacturing process, connecting him with various resources, working with his design and logistics, and producing proof-of-concept and presentation models for his use before full production.
Now, with his product fully realized, Foster is focused on marketing and promotion, but new inventions aren’t far on the horizon. “I’m hoping to continue to network and meet people to find what application of this product I want to do next,” Foster says. He’s considering branching into the medical industry, or the fitness industry, or perhaps further developing for the wine and spirits space. Regardless of his next pursuit, Foster knows that ProtoCAM can help him realize his goals. With our commitment to clear communication and experts with 20+ of experience in manufacturing, we’re here to help bring ideas to life.
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