Product Design

What is Product Design

Importance of Product Design Production or operations
strategy is directly influenced by product design for the
following reasons:
(i) As products are designed, all the detailed characteristics
of each product are established.
(ii) Each product characteristic directly affects how the
the product can be made or produced (i.e., process
technology and process design) and
(iii) How the product is made determines the design of the
production system (production design) which is the
heart of production and operations strategy.

Further, product design directly affects product quality,
production costs and customer satisfaction. Hence, the
design of the product is crucial to success in today’s global

A good product design can improve the marketability of a
product by making it easier to operate or use, upgrading its
quality, improving its appearance, and/or reducing
manufacturing costs.
A distinctive design may be the only feature that significantly
differentiates a product. An excellent design includes
usability, aesthetics, reliability, functionality, innovation, and
appropriateness. An excellent design provides a competitive
advantage to the manufacturer, by ensuring appropriate

quality, reasonable cost, and the expected product features.
Firms of tomorrow will definitely compete not on price and
quality, but on product design.

What Does Product Design Do?

The activities and responsibilities of product design include
the following:

I. Translating customer needs and wants into product and
service requirements (marketing).

(i) Refining existing products (marketing).
(ii) Developing new products (marketing, product design
and production).
(iii) Formulating quality goals (quality assurance,
(iv) Formulating cost targets (accounting).
(v) Constructing and testing prototype (marketing,
(vi) Documenting specifications (product design).

Reasons for Product Design or Redesign

The most obvious reason for product design is to offer new
products to remain competitive in the market. The second
most important reason is to make the business grow and
increase profits. Also, when productivity gains result in
a reduction of the workforce, developing new products can mean
adding jobs and retaining a surplus workforce instead of
downsizing by layoffs/ retrenchment. Sometimes product design is actually redesign or modified of existing design instead of an
entirely new design. The reasons for this include customer
complaints, accidents or injuries during product use, excessive
warranty claims, or low demand. Sometimes product redesign is
initiated to achieve cost reductions in labor and material costs.

Objectives of Product Design

(i) The overall objective is profit generation in the long run
(ii) To achieve the desired product quality.
(iii) To reduce the development time and cost to the minimum.
(iv) To reduce the cost of the product.
(v) To ensure producibility or manufacturability (design for
manufacturing and assembly).

Factors Influencing Product Design

(i) Customer requirements: The designers must find out the exact
requirements of the customers to ensure that the products suit
the convenience of customers for use. The products must be
designe to be used in all kinds of conditions.

(ii) Convenience of the operator or user: The industrial products
such as machines and tools should be so designe that they are
convenient and comfortable to operate or use.

(iii) Trade-off between function and form: The design should
combine both performance and aesthetics or appearance with
a proper balance between the two.

(iv) Types of materials used: Discovery of new and better materials
can improve the product design. Designers keep in touch with
the latest developments taking place in the field of materials
and components and make use of improved materials and
components in their product designs.

(v) Work methods and equipment’s: Designers must keep abreast
of improvements in work methods, processes and equipment’s
and design the products to make use of the latest technology
and manufacturing processes to achieve a reduction in costs.

(vi) Cost/Price ratio: In a competitive market, there is a lot of
pressure on designers to design products that are cost
effective because cost and quality are inbuilt in the design.
With a constraint on the upper limit on the cost of producing
products, the designer must ensure cost-effective designs.

(vii) Product quality: The product quality partly depends on the quality
of design and partly on the quality of conformance. The quality
the policy of the firm provides the necessary guidelines for the
designers regarding the extent to which quality should be built
in the design stage itself by deciding the appropriate design
specifications and tolerances.

(viii) Process capability: The product design should take into
consideration of the quality of conformance, i.e., the degree to
which quality of design is achieved in manufacturing. This
depends on the process capability of the machines and
equipment. However, the designer should have the
knowledge of the capability of the manufacturing facilities and
specify tolerances that can be achieved by the available
machines and equipment.

(ix) Effect on existing products: New product designs while
replacing existing product designs must take into
consideration of the use of standard parts and components,
existing manufacturing and distribution strategies and blending
of new manufacturing technology with the existing one so that
the costs of implementing the changes are kept to, the

(x) Packaging: Packaging is an essential part of a product and
packaging design and product design go hand in hand with
equal importance. Packaging design must take into account the
objectives of packaging such as the protection and promotion of
the product. Attractive packaging enhances the sales appeal of
products in case of consumer products (nondurable)

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