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Product Life Cycle Management

Product Life Cycle Management

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Published by: Dennis Onchieku Onyando on Mar 07, 2013
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Industrial Design as any of the design methods and processes available for NPD needs to be well
planed and managed. Also the need to locate and select the proper designer for a specific job is
crucial. Before embarking into a industrial design project one should give a little bit of thought to
the need of working with an industrial designer, the gains or potential benefits for such a
partnership and the ways to plan such an engagement.

To pinpoint the value of such engagement one should consider the following.

What are the customer requirements?
What elements of the design are crucial to the success of the product?
What skills are available and what do we need?
What are the financial benefits?
How do we compare to our competition?

To identify the type of industrial design involvement one should consider the following.

NPD Stage 6: Technical Implementation


How important are human factors or ser interface issues in the new product?
How important is creativity and innovation?
Is the work primarily styling?

Lastly to plan the engagement one should consider the following.

What is the scope of the project?
What form an initial brief on the engagement should have?

When all the above are answered i.e. the need for industrial design is established, the type of design
involvement is identified, and the relationship is planed, then the selection criteria should be set.
Their identification is crucial since they will be used later to evaluate the pros and cons of different
possible suppliers. These criteria can differ from company to company and can include elements
such as price, location, specific skills, IT and communication, track record and personality.

Often designers are selected based on word of mouth or previous experience. It can be very difficult
to locate the right person with the right skills. Alternative approaches include location using design
directories, web links, and local business links. If all fail one should seek out examples of products
that one likes and contact the manufacturer to identify the industrial designer(s) involved.

As a rule one must select 5 suppliers and contact 3 of them asking them to respond to a short brief
prepared with the involvement of all team members. All the members must agree on the form and
contents of the brief. An effective brief must have the following.

Exactly what is required from the industrial designer: all usability issues, potential form and
feel and technical and quality aspects.
All the critical constraints such as timescales, budget, resources, manufacturing process,
scope of project and specific technical requirements.
Some company information such as background, market information, user requirements (if
any) and expected sales volume.

Depending on the responses the right supplier with the skills needed is selected.

The relationship between engineers and industrial designers becomes increasingly important. It is
vital that all concepts are supported and are feasible and producible. Managing such relationship
requires a joint appreciation of the following issues.

Knowing who is responsible to deliver which aspects and when.
Breaking the project into discrete phases.
Having an agreed approach regarding management changes during the process.
Identifying the system architect.
Partitioning each task base on a understanding of interfaces between components.
Identifying the commercial, technical and market risks.
Ensuring IT compatibility and effective data transfer.
Identifying the modes of informal and formal communication between members.

NPD Stage 6: Technical Implementation


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