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The Generic Process for Developing New Products
Product development is the process of creating a new product to be sold by a business or enterprise
to its customers. In the document title, Design refers to those activities involved in creating the styling, look and feel of the product, deciding on the product's mechanical architecture, selecting materials and processes, and engineering the various components necessary to make the product work. Development refers collectively to the entire process of identifying a market opportunity, creating a product to appeal to the identified market, and finally, testing, modifying and refining the product until it is ready for production. A product can be any item from a book, musical composition, or information service, to an engineered product such as a computer, hair dryer, or washing machine. This document is focused on the process of developing discrete engineered products, rather than works of art or informational products. The task of developing outstanding new products is difficult, time-consuming, and costly. People who have never been involved in a development effort are astounded by the amount of time and money that goes into a new product. Great products are not simply designed, but instead they evolve over time through countless hours of research, analysis, design studies, engineering and prototyping efforts, and finally, testing, modifying, and re-testing until the design has been perfected. Few products are developed by a single individual working alone. It is unlikely that one individual will have the necessary skills in marketing, industrial design, mechanical and electronic engineering, manufacturing processes and materials, tool-making, packaging design, graphic art, and project management, just to name the primary areas of expertise. Development is normally done by a project team, and the team leader draws on talent in a variety of disciplines, often from both outside and inside the company. As a general rule, the cost of a development effort is a factor of the number of people involved and the time required to nurture the initial concept into a fully-refined product. Rarely can a production-ready product be developed in less than one year, and some projects can take three to five years to complete. The impetus for a new product normally comes from a perceived market opportunity or from the development of a new technology. Consequently, new products are broadly categorized as either market-pull products or technology-push products. With a market-pull product, the marketing center of the company first determines that sales could be increased if a new product were designed to appeal to a particular segment of its customers. Engineering is then be asked to determine the technical feasibility of the new product idea. This interaction is reversed with a technology-push product. When a technical breakthrough opens the way for a new product, marketing then attempts to determine the idea's prospects in the marketplace. In many cases, the technology itself may not actually point to a particular product, but instead, to new capabilities and benefits that could be packaged in a variety of ways to create a number of different products. Marketing would have the responsibility of determining how the technology should be packaged to have the greatest appeal to its customers. With either scenario, manufacturing is responsible for estimating the cost of building the prospective new product, and their estimations are used to project a selling price and estimate
Evaluate performance early and life tests production Get regulatory output approvals Impliment design changes Manufacturing Estimate manufacturing cost Assess production feasibility Identify suppliers Define processes Begin supplier Make/buy study Design tooling ramp-up Define final Begin tooling Refine mfg. The process of developing new products varies between companies. product specifications are defined. This stage provides the foundation for the development effort. Figure 1 The Generic Product Development Process Concept System-Level Detail Development Design Design Testing and Refinement Production Ramp-Up Place early production with key customers Marketing Define market segments Identify Lead users Identify competitive products Develop plan for product options and extended product family Develop Dev. a product concept is selected. and even between products within the same company. and the development project is outlined. the needs of the target market are identified. Concept development activities are normally organized according to Figure 2. assembly scheme procurement processes Begin operation of production system Concept Development Good concept development is crucial. promotion marketing plan and launch materials Facilitate field tests Design Study feasibility of product concepts Develop industrial design concepts Build and test expiremental prototypes Generate Define part alternative geometry architectures Spec materials Define systems Spec tolerances and interfaces Industrial Refine industrial design design control documentation Reliability. A development project for a market-pull product is generally organized along the lines shown in Figure 1. Regardless of organizational differences. competitive products are reviewed. Figure 2 Concept Development Identify Customer Needs Establish Target Sepcifications Generate Product Concepts Select a Product Concept Refine Specifications . and if poorly done can undermine the entire effort. During this stage. a good new product is the result a methodical development effort with well defined product specifications and project goals.the potential profit for the company. an economic analysis is done.
Target specifications are essentially a wish-list tempered by known technical constraints. The list of needs will include hidden needs. after designers have generated preliminary products concepts. a list of improvements can be developed that will make the new product clearly superior to those of others. product specifications are refined on the basis of input . the team establishes the target specifications of the prospective new product. weight. In a broader sense. Customer needs and product specifications are organized into a hierarchical list with a comparative rating value given to each need and specification. a final concept is selected. and industrial designers develop renderings to show styling and layout alternatives. designers and engineers become involved in establishing target specifications. and other specifications of the product. focus groups. non-functional appearance models are built of candidate designs. researchers identify customer needs.Analyze Competitive Products Perform Economic Analysis Plan Remaining Development Project Concept Development Identify Customer Needs: Through interviews with potential purchasers. Rather than beginning from scratch and re-inventing the wheel with each new project. Select a Product Concept: Through the process of evaluation and tradeoffs between attributes. size. The selection process may be confined to the team and key executives within the company. or needs that will most likely be reported by potential purchasers. and by observing similar products in use. as well as explicit needs. the evolution of design builds on the successes and failures of prior work. needs that customers may not be aware of or problems they simply accept without question. After narrowing the selection. Engineers develop preliminary concepts for the architecture of the product. Candidate appearance models are often used for additional market research. manufacturing and economic realities. service life. Generate Product Concepts: Designers and engineers develop a number of product concepts to illustrate what types of products are both technically feasible and would best meets the requirements of the target specifications. Researchers develop the necessary information on which to base the performance. analyzing competitive products can help orient designers and provide a starting point for design efforts. While the process of identifying customer needs is entirely a function of marketing. Analyze Competitive Products: An analysis of competitive products is part of the process of establishing target specifications. or customers may be polled for their input. Later. And by understanding the shortfalls of competitive products. traditionally. or as a centerpiece of focus groups. Establish Target Specifications: Based on customers' needs and reviews of competitive products. Other products may exhibit successful design attributes that should be emulated or improved upon in the new product. Refine Product Specifications: In this stage. the target specifications are refined to account for technical. to obtain feedback from certain key customers.
ease of manufacture. important economic implications regarding development expenses. and how these systems are arranged to work as a unit. impacts a number of important attributes such as standardization of components. In prior stages. whether the vehicle is front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive. A thorough economic analysis of the product and the required development effort is necessary in order to define the remainder of the development project. and the financial limitations of the development project. Designers and engineers develop the product architecture in detail. final drive. transmission and final drive. manufacturing costs. the specification may be dropped or modified in favor of other benefits. and selling price have been estimated. and introduce a mechanism that has the potential for failure. inexpensive. but it would not provide the detailed engineering needed to determine the diameter and thickness of the exhaust pipe. more costly product. the team was focused on the core product idea. the mechanism needed for the expandable feature will increase the selling price. and the prospective design was largely based on overviews rather than in-depth design and engineering. Consequently. System-Level Design System-level design. projected selling price. for example. is the subject of this stage. When product attributes are in conflict. or perhaps an extended product family. Final specifications are the result of tradeoffs made between technical feasibility. the team prepares a detailed development plan which includes a list of activities. the size and location of the engine. wheels. frame. and identifies the necessary suppliers. how it is divided into chunks and how the chunks are integrated into the total product. and steering. marketing may begin to develop ideas for additional product options and add-ons. an automobile is comprised of a body and a chassis with an engine. An economic model of the product and a review of anticipated development expenses in relation to expected benefits is now developed. add weight to the product. the team must choose between a heavier. consumers may want a product that is lightweight. and a development schedule with milestones for tracking progress. Plan the Remaining Development Project: In this final stage of concept development. Unfortunately. Perform Economic Analysis: Throughout the foregoing activities. a transmission. and manufacturing determines which components should be made and which should be purchased. options for change later on. or the primary functional systems and subsystems. and how the development project is divided into manageable tasks and expenses. and with the ability to expand to carry varying amounts of luggage. attractive. expected service life. or when the technical challenge or higher selling price of a particular feature outweighs its benefits. nor the engineering of motor mounts and exhaust hangers needed to isolate vibrations from the passenger compartment. The architecture may determine the layout of the exhaust system. If a family of products or upgrades and add-ons are . Once the development plan is approved. and the layout and type of other necessary subsystems such as brakes. modularity. suspension and braking system. the necessary resources and expenses. The architecture of the product. the detailed design of mufflers. or one that does not have the expandable feature. or the task of designing the architecture of the product. the overall design of suspension system. For example.from the foregoing activities. The product architecture defines the product in chunks. With a new luggage product. The architecture of an automobile design determines the platform layout.
each part is identified and engineered. When the match has been made. The comparatively slow product build provides time to work out any remaining problems with supplier components. and line workers are trained by assembling production units. Models and Prototypes The terms prototype and model are often used interchangeably to mean any full-scale pre-production representation of a design. the generic development process is carried out as described. A system or subsystem borrowed from another product within the company's line will economize on development. Later. the company acquires or develops a new technology and then looks for appropriate markets in which to apply the technology. prototypes emulate production products as closely as possible. Technology-Push Products The generic development process is used with technology-push products. the supplier may contribute much of the associated design and engineering. The staff and supervisory team is organized. and the design is documented with drawings or computer files. During this phase. prototype components can be rapidly built on computerized machines such as CNC mills. With technology-push products. tooling and manufacturing costs. beta prototypes are built from the first production components received from suppliers. and assembly procedures. materials. beginning with a core team. a number of prototypes are built and tested. and to uncover design shortfalls and gain in-the-field experience with the product in use. or design-for-manufacture. With outsourced components. the architecture of the product would determine the commonality of components and the ease with which upgrades and add-ons can be installed. or stereo lithography systems. Increasingly. Consequently. Detail Design Detail design. whether functional or not. Even though they are not made from production components. fused deposition modeling devices. is the stage wherein the necessary engineering is done for every component of the product. Three-dimensional computer models form the core of today's rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing technologies. but with slight modification. an extra phase is added at the beginning during which the new technology is matched to an appropriate market opportunity. the work force is trained as the first products are being assembled. These alpha prototypes are necessary to determine whether the performance of the product matches the specifications. manufacturers and developers are turning to three-dimensional solid modeling using programs such as Pro-Engineer. fabrication. Once the database has been developed. Production Ramp-up During production ramp-up.planned. Testing and Refinement During the testing and refinement stage. I prefer to use the term model to describe a . and finishes are defined. Tolerances.
Industrial designers have extensive training in art. Modeling and prototyping serve a variety of purposes throughout the development effort. Appearance models prove out styling and ergonomics. easy to use. and marketing practices. manufacturing and fabrication processes. engineering prototypes may be built of systems and subsystems to bench-test performance and debug the system before proceeding with the design. non-functional representation that looks. however. and color are used to integrate the product into a pleasing whole. Early on. access to controls. as closely as possible. when one experiences the results. industrial design (ID) is the "professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function. A full-scale mockup of an automobile interior. Each feature should be shaped so that it communicates its function to the user. but one doesn't really know how it will work until the item is built and tested in its intended environment. as well as training in basic engineering. color. The value becomes obvious. value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer. Dreyfuss (1967) lists five critical goals that industrial designers bring to a team when developing new products: y Utility: The product's human interfaces should be safe. Models and prototypes are necessary because of the limitations of theoretical work and artificial mediums. An appearance model is a full-scale. Good industrial design can create additional product benefits through the selection of materials and the architecture of the design. Low Costs: Form and features have a large impact on tooling and production costs. for example.non-functional representation and the term prototype to describe a functional item. Prototyping and modeling efforts begin virtually at the inception of the project and continue into production ramp-up. and senses the quality of its construction and the integrity of the . Communication: Product designs should communicate the corporate design philosophy and mission through the visual qualities of the products. Ease of Maintenance: Products must also be designed to communicate how they are to be maintained and repaired. visibility and appearance. and texture with the mechanical realities of function in a way that broadcasts a coherent and purposeful message to those who experience the product. proportion. so they must be considered jointly by the team. The Role of Industrial Design According to the definition given by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). provides a real-world test of ease of ingress. Appearance: Form. and intuitive. A product can be designed and put into simulated use on computer. seating position. identical to the prospective new product." An industrial designer combines artistic form with engineering necessities. The ID practitioner blends the human meanings expressed through form. When the purchaser intuitively understands a product's function. line. y y y y Industrial design is costly and the value per dollar spent is often difficult to quantity.
comes alive with personal meaning. When members have a real concept to work towards. these subliminal messages are normally the result of good industrial design. Industrial designers usually become involved in a development project almost at the outset.company that produced it. the effort ceases to be a purely cerebral exercise. . and instead. Enthusiasm within the development team increases when industrial designers develop an attractive concept early in the project.
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