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Product design team must ensure that product design to consider impact of the design throughout the product life-cycle; impacts of product design during production, during product consumption or operating life, and after consumption or disposal. Product design is the function of product quality. It defines the way that products and services function. Quality has a major influence on customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
Importance & Drivers of Product Design Markets are becoming more and more segmented and fragmented, changes in product design are more frequent as products are constantly developing and emerging, and product lifecycles are becoming shorter). Customers are increasingly demanding for greater product variety and are increasingly quick to shift to new, innovative and full-featured products. Example: Digital cameras, old and young generation have different needs, grip and eyeproblems drives camera manufacturers to strategically design their products to better suit different market segments, as some features and functions are more important to some market segments than others. Competition, greater product variety, and shorter product life cycles have a multiplicative impact on the need for new product development and derivative products that needs to be redesigned. Customers can switch to products that can better suit and satisfy their requirements and values. Increasing environmental concerns and awareness over the impacts of production processes, product‟s operating life, and its disposal (recyclability) on the environment and sustainability. Disposal is increasingly becoming an important part in product design. Example; in 2000, the European Union (EU) aims for the increase in recyclability of automobiles by the end of 2010. This legislation requires that customers return the vehicle to the manufacturer at the end of use to be recycled. This recyclability begins in product design. Vehicles should be designed so that they can be disassembled and recycled easily. The product designers should avoid using materials that are difficult to recycle. For example, parts that require plastics and metal to be fused together should not be used in applications where they are difficult to separate. Product designers should identify which parts will be designed to be refurbished and reused, and parts which will be broken down and recycled. All of these design processes should be done without increasing costs or sacrificing product quality. 1 Atiqah Ismail
Operations Management: Product Design
Design decisions have direct implications on business activities such as sales strategies, manufacturing efficiency, and product cost.
Advantages of Good Product Design i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. Customisability, Order-to-delivery time, Product safety, Ease of use (convenience), Ease and cost of maintenance, Durability, Recyclability.
Consequences of Poor Product Design Poor product design can be an annoyance, inconveniency, and even life-threatening. Poor product design processes: High production or manufacturing costs Complex and incompatible to manufacturing capabilities Low quality Time-consuming Slow time-to-market – delays product introduction
Consequences of poor product design process: Poor quality product, Expensive product, Product Recalls, Quantifiable economic impact caused by product recalls from customer refunds and warranty claims, and litigations. Unquantifiable impact to business reputation cannot be underestimated
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Operations Management: Product Design Product Design Process Products and processes which produce the products all need to be designed. Product design decisions will influence and impact production and processes design decisions. An effective product design processes: Match product characteristics with customer requirements, Ensures customer requirements are met in the simples and least costly manner, Minimises the time required to design a new product, Minimises the revisions necessary to make the design workable.
Simplistically, there are 5 stages of product and service design: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Concept generation, Concept screening, Preliminary design, Evaluation and improvements, Prototyping and final design.
In practice, this sequential step is practically ineffective and inefficient. However, for the ease of explanation, the following will follow these five sequential steps to in product design process.
Stages of Product and Service Design 1. Concept generation Source of idea and concept can come from different sources or a combination of sources, depending on the type of organisation and its environment. For example, in technology product markets, ideas and concepts are likely to be generated from internal sources, the engineering team, reverse engineering and research & development (e.g. aerospace). Conversely, for organisations in fast-moving consumer goods or fashion products and items, idea and concept generation are likely to be primarily from external sources such as customers and competitors. However a successful firm is able to see the equal importance of both sources throughout the process design. In companies like Canon producing digital imaging products, idea generation may come from a balance of internal and external sources. Market research has identified the grey-consumer segment prefers simplicity in digital camera.
2. Concept screening The basic premise of this stage is to specify focus through elimination of insignificant or less significant ideas or elements of an idea. This stage is important as it specifies focus of the 3 Atiqah Ismail
Operations Management: Product Design
design. This phase is concerned with progressively reducing design options from many to one specific idea. For example, ideas to develop a derivative digital camera, with improved design to better suit the grey-consumer segment (i.e. over 50-years) which provides convenience and simplicity. Screening would narrow down the idea, to identify what features will be valued (e.g. simplicity, better grip, large fonts, more automatic functions, light-weight) and those that are not important to this segment (e.g. manual aperture settings, small fonts, wi-fi functions to connect to social networking sites). Essentially, concept screening involves examining the feasibility, acceptability and vulnerability of design to ensure that it is a sensible addition to the company‟s product or service portfolio and that it adds value in all aspect of design features. The three aforementioned design criteria are; Feasibility (or feasibility study) – Do we have the skills, capacity and resources to do it? Acceptability – Will the market accept it, and provide positive financial returns? Is the concept worthwhile? Vulnerability – Are we willing to take risks?
It is obvious that the first two stages of product design, collaboration, cross-functional and knowledge intensive work is central in product design. Any changes in idea or concept beyond this stage will be expensive and involve recalculation and re-evaluation. The aim of this phase is to generate a feasible, acceptable and viable product concept.
3. Preliminary Design Preliminary design involves identifying all the constituent component parts of the product and how they fit together. The objective of this stage is to identify and specify the product or service components, and to determine the processes to create the product. This involves the initial product (package) design and initial process design. This stage involves: Specification of product components Simplification of design complexity Definition of process to create the product
i. Specification of product-package components Gathering information about constituent component parts which comprises the product or service package. Identify the components structure
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Operations Management: Product Design ii. Simplification of design complexity (reduction in design complexity)
A firm can pursue simplification by reducing numbers of parts, and using standardised (or commonly available) or inter-changeable parts. An excellent example in simplification of product design is IKEA‟s standardised modular design for sub-components such as wooden pegs and screws for most of its variety of its self-assembly furniture. Three approaches to pursue simplicity in the design of the product or service: Standardisation – Variety reduction Commonality – Using common elements within a product or service Modularisation iii. Definition of process to create the product-package This involves the examination and identification on how a production process could put together the various constituent component parts to create the final product or service.
4. Evaluation and Improvement of Design This stage is to evaluate and improve the preliminary design before the product or service is tested in the market. This stage usually involves re-examining whether the design can be done any more efficiently. Techniques to evaluate and improve the preliminary design: Quality function deployment Value engineering Taguchi methods
i. Quality Function Deployment – the purpose of quality function deployment (QFD) is to try to ensure that the final design of a product or service actually meets the needs of the customers. The primary inputs of this technique are the customers. o Match customer requirements against the product features and design, based on the level of importance placed on the features and design by the customers. o The product features will then be ranked by their relative importance, and then will be assessed for technical difficulty. ii. Value Engineering – the purpose of value engineering is to reduce costs and, to prevent and avoid unnecessary costs, before commencing with production of the final product or service. It attempts to eliminate costs that does not add value to the product overall performance or functionality. iii. Taguchi Methods – the purpose of the Taguchi methods is to test the robustness of a design. It ensures that the product or service should still perform in extreme conditions. This stage should have provided the design specifications, manufacturing specifications and delivery specifications. This should provide input for prototype development. 5 Atiqah Ismail
Operations Management: Product Design 5. Prototyping and Final Design
Prototypes are needed so that products and services can be tested. Product prototypes could include anything from clay models to computer simulations. Any adjustments are made as needed before the final design is agreed on. The final design consists of detailed drawings and specifications for the new product or service. This final stage will also be accompanied with process plans. Process plans could consist of; i. ii. iii. iv. v. Workable instructions for manufacture, Necessary tools and equipments, Component sourcing recommendations, Job descriptions and instructions, Computer programs for automated machines.
This stage is to generate a fully developed specification for the product-package and (production) processes that will make, and deliver, the product to the customer.
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Operations Management: Product Design Sequential product design process
Sequential product design process is constrained by limited exchange of information and idea. Using this process, problems are often discovered late because late-stage participants are excluded from decisions made in the earlier process. As a result, poor decisions are often made.
Concurrent Design A concurrent design is an approach to design which involves simultaneous design of products and processes by the design team (e.g. often cross-functional teams). It is a collaborative way to product design. Concurrent design enables quicker time-to-market, resulting from shorter and more effective design time. Concurrent designs involve: Cross-functional teams, Incorporating production process into design decisions, Involves suppliers in the design process, Applications of technology, Rapid prototyping
Teams in a concurrent design involve key participants such as marketing, finance, research and development, engineering, operations and suppliers. This collaborative approach to product design enables problems to be identified and resolved early. Because, when a team of functional specialists works concurrently and collaboratively on product design, participants learn from each other and their knowledge base expands. Thus, the team are better able to anticipate conflicts and can more easily arrive at solutions. Moreover, this collaborative approach enables problems to be identified and resolved early in the design process, thus fewer changes in the later process results in faster and cost-effective product design. As opposed to the sequential design where problems are discovered late, which are timeconsuming and expensive to solve. Advantages of the concurrent, team-based approach to product designs are: Shared knowledge of cross-functional team enables quicker and better decisions to be made more efficiently, The reorganised process creates a timely response to customer needs More cost-effective product design process, Higher-quality product at an affordable price Concurrent design is aided by the use of technology.
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Operations Management: Product Design Application of Technology & Rapid Prototyping
Firms are continuously searching for and applying technology to determine ways of designing better products, efficiently and effectively. The application of technology such as rapid prototyping and computer-aided design (CAD) can facilitate and evaluate how products function, how much they will cost to produce, complexity of production, and how they will impact the environment. 1. Rapid prototyping 2. Computer-aided design (CAD) Rapid prototyping is testing and revising a preliminary design model until a viable design is determined. Rapid prototyping is an iterative process which involves: i. ii. iii. Form design, Functional design, Production design
Prototyping can increase customers‟ satisfaction, improve design stability and robustness, product effectiveness, and the predictability of final product costs and performance. CAD can significantly increase productivity, reduce design time, and eventually enables faster product delivery and introduction to market (increasing market competitiveness).
For example; Canon adopts computer-aided engineering (CAE) which includes and allows
„prototype-less technology‟ with: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. CAD = Computer-aided design CAA = Computer-aided analysis CIM = Computer-integrated manufacturing MRP = Material requirement planning CAP = Computer aided planning
Hence, allowing Speed up development cycles, Reduce cost, and Enhance product performance, functionality and quality.
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Operations Management: Product Design Quality Function Deployment
A quality function deployment (QFD) is an evaluation method, which attempts to improve the quality of design. It involves evaluating the preliminary or final product design to ensure that it meets the needs and requirements of the customer. It involves translating the voice of the customers into technical design requirements. QFD aims to identifying how the product could satisfy customer wants. QFD is used in the improvement stage of the product design, by which it compares customer requirements with the design characteristics. It presents a relationship matrix between the customer requirements and design characteristics. This matrix is called the “house of quality” which converts (or compare) customer requirements into (or against) product-design characteristics. For example; house of quality of a DSLR cameras for beginners, grey consumers
B Product Design Characteristics
Strong plastic material Smaller than standard SLR Easy Ergonomics Big display screen Semi-auto functions
Customer Requirements Lightweight Easy to bring around Easy to use Durable battery Robust build Target values and objective measures A
Competitive Assessment 1 2 3 4 5 C
A – The body of the matrix shows how the design characteristics relate to customer requirements. It determines the intensities of the relationships between design characteristics and customer requirements B – Represents the “trade-off matrix” which shows the effects of changing (reducing or increasing) the product design characteristics on other elements. For example, reducing the camera body size would reduce the size of display screen. C – Competitive assessment compares and quantifies customers‟ evaluations of the firm‟s product design with that of a competitor. It involves customers‟ rating (the firms‟ product and the competitor) on a scale. It helps drive the design to be “order qualifiers” by allowing improvements and adjustments to be made, so it is better than competitors. D – Presents the qualitative or objective measures and target values. 9 Atiqah Ismail
Operations Management: Product Design
Quality function deployment is a communication and planning tool which: i. ii. iii. iv. Promotes better understanding of customer demands, Better understanding of design interactions, Involves manufacturing in the design process, and Provides documentation of the design process.
Advantages of QFD QFD forces management to spend more time defining new product/design changes and examining the implications of those changes. More time spent at the early stages of design reduces revisions, re-tests and re-designs in the later stages, which are often expensive.
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Operations Management: Product Design Notes Other processes involved in quality function deployment:
o Match customer requirements against the product features and design, based on the level of importance placed on the features and design by the customers. o The product features will then be ranked by their relative importance, and then will be assessed for technical difficulty. Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA): A system which evaluates manufacturability of product design which can improve product quality while reducing manufacturing costs. It is implemented through computer software which identifies designs concepts that would be easy to build by focusing on the economic implications of design decisions. An example of many DFMA successes, IBM successfully cut down the assembly time for its printers from 30 minutes to 3 minutes.
Time-to-market can be accelerated by using: Design teams, Concurrent design, Design for manufacture concepts, and CAD/CAM systems.
The quality of design can be improved through: Design reviews, Design for environment, Quality function deployment (QFD), and Robust design.
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