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 product can be made or produced (i.e., process technology and process design) and
(iii) Further, how the product is made determines the design of the production system (production design) which is the heart of production and operations strategy.

Moreover, 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 competition.

A good product design also 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 also includes usability, aesthetics, reliability, functionality, innovation, and appropriateness.

Further, 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 also service requirements (marketing).

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

Reasons for Product Design or Redesign

Firstly, 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 a redesign or modification 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 we also need to initiate the product redesign 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 also must be in a design that is usable in all kinds of conditions.

(ii) Convenience of the operator or user: The industrial products such as machines and tools should be in such a design 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: Firstly, the discovery of new and better materials can improve the product design. Designers also keep in touch with the latest developments taking place in the field of materials and components and make use of improved materials and product designs.

(v) Work methods and equipment: Designers must keep abreast of improvements in work methods, processes, and equipment and also 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. In order to design products that are cost-effective we need to build cost and quality into the design. Hence, 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 policy of the firm provides the necessary guidelines for the designers. This is in regard to the extent there is a need for quality. In the design stage itself by deciding the appropriate design specifications and tolerances.

(viii) Process capability: We need to consider the product design or the quality of conformance. i.e., To achieve the degree of quality in manufacturing. This also depends on the process capability of the machines and equipment. However, the designer should have 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. The use of standard parts and components, and existing manufacturing and distribution strategies. The blending of new manufacturing technology with the existing one so that we can keep the costs of implementing to the minimum.

(x) Packaging: Packaging is an essential part of a product and packaging design. The product design goes 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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