Navigating The Robotics Industry: Insights on Market Fit

In today’s era of robotics, it is more important than ever for your product to quickly find its market fit to scale and succeed. But how do you determine when you’re ready to scale? What kind of partner can best help you reach steady-state manufacturing and plan with you to reach new heights?

Through shared insights from four experts in the robotics industry, we’ve compiled some of their best advice about understanding market fit and how to work with a contract manufacturer (CM) successfully.

The Importance of Cadence

Determining what stage in the lifecycle your product (and your company) is at is critical when looking for proper market fit and future partners. From robotics design and prototyping to pricing and producing, timing is everything.

It’s very capital-intensive to make changes later in the process, so design with manufacturing in mind, whether it’s a new product or iteration. Supply chain sourcing should be planned around fast, cost effective, and easy consumables while understanding the price sensitivity of your intended market – consider precisely what you’re building early to make sure people can afford it.

Talking to potential customers early can help direct efforts and prevent you from committing to significant developments or advanced manufacturing techniques before you’re ready. Getting out of the weeds and into your customer’s facilities is a prime example of “the sooner, the better” – a fundamental understanding of their needs and your expected ROI can be a game changer early in the product lifecycle.

Speaking of ROI…

ROI and Reliability in Robotics

Strong market advisory and understanding ROI from early on are crucial when transitioning from “project” to product. 

Robotics is a complex, multi-discipline industry. No robot is built from a single piece of hardware or software, so your advisory sources and strategies must be as multi-faceted as the product itself. Taking a disciplined approach and incorporating ROI analysis into everything you do from the beginning will benefit the entire operation, whether you’re building a consumer-facing product or an industrial enterprise system.

The threshold of reliability and safety is incredibly high in the robotics market. Understanding reliability before scaling a product is vital to ensuring deliverability in the long term. In anticipation of those future challenges, it’s essential to rely on experts in manufacturing who can recommend process changes or component substitutions when needed.

These experts should be your chosen contract manufacturing partners.

Choosing the Right Partner

As you scale, selecting a CM depends on what stage your company is currently at. This includes your expected volume, estimated timelines, support and testing needs, and overall experience.

The right partner is stable, trusted, responsive, and knowledgeable. It’s a great idea to start locally with partners that are positively peer-reviewed. Still, most importantly, you must ensure they have the proper certifications, tools, and experience for the product you plan to build.

The perfect time to engage a CM is once your new design or iteration has been prototyped in-house and you’ve had time to dig into the nuances and parts so you can discuss how to build and scale appropriately. A CM’s tribal knowledge can fill in some gaps for your team, including supply chain, handling returns and repairs, and other risk mitigation.


This may be the best time to break into the robotics industry. More tools are available, the supply chain has leveled off, more opportunities and interest in autonomous solutions, and more contract manufacturers have robotics experience to enhance the product’s shelf life. Choosing the right manufacturing partner to reach a steady state or scale your manufacturing is crucial to the successful commercialization of your product.

If you’re looking for additional capacity, we’d love to talk. Contact Cirtronics and let us put our robotics manufacturing expertise to work for you.

Much of this article’s content was initially shared during a Panel Discussion at the 2023 Robotics Summit and Expo in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 10, 2023.


Jennifer Circle
Reese Circle
Tom Circle

Former President of Ondas Holdings and former CEO and Co-Founder of American Robotics

CTO and Co-Founder of Labrador Systems

Executive Director of MassRobotics