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1.What are the characteristics of good product design?

Characteristics of Good Product Design

A good product design must ensure the following
 Function and performance: The function or performance is what the customer
expects the product to do to solve his/her problem or offer certain benefits leading to
satisfaction. For example, a customer for a motor bike expects the bike to start with a
few kicks on the kick peddle and also expects some other functional aspects such as
pick-up, maximum speed, engine power and fuel consumption etc.
 Appearance or aesthetics: This includes the style, colour, look feel, etc. Which
appeals to the human sense and adds value to the produce.
 Reliability: This refers to the length of time a product can be used before it fails. ln
other words, reliability is the probability that a product will function for a specific time
period without failure.
 Maintainability: Refers to the restoration of a product once it has failed. High degree
of maintainability is desired so that the product can be restored (repaired) be used within
a short time after it breaks down. This is also known as serviceability.
 Availability: This refers to the continuity of service to the customer. A product is
available for use when it is in an operational state. Availability is a combination of
reliability and maintainability. High reliability and maintainability ensures high
 Producibility: This refers to the ease of manufacture with minimum cost (economic
production). This is ensured in product design by proper specification of tolerances, use
of materials that can be easily processed and also use of economical processes and
equipment to produce the product quickly and at a cheaper cost.
 Simplification: This refers to the elimination of the complex features so that the
intended function is performed with reduced costs, higher quality or more customer
satisfaction. A simplified design has fewer parts which can be manufactured and
assembled with less time and cost.
 Standardisation: It refers to the design activity that reduces variety among a group of
products or parts. For example, group technology items have standardised design which
calls for similar manufacturing process steps to be followed. Standard designs lead to
variety reduction and results in economies of scale due to high volume of production
of standard products. However, standardised designs may lead to reduced choices for
 Specification: A specification is a detailed description of a material, part or product
including physical measures such as dimensions, volume, weight, surface finish etc.
These specifications indicate tolerances on physical measures which provide
production department with precise information about the characteristics of products to
be produced and the processes and production equipments to be used to achieve the
specified tolerance (acceptable variations).
Interchangeability of parts in products produced in large volumes (mass production an
low-line production) is provided by appropriate specification of tolerances to facilitate
desired fit between parts which are assembled together.
 Safety: The product must be safe to the user and should not cause any accident while
using or should not cause any health hazard to the user. Safety in storage, handling and
usage must be ensured by the designer and a proper package has to be provided to avoid
damage during transportation and storage of the product. For example, a pharmaceutical
product while used by the patient, should not cause some other side effect threatening
the user.

2. What are the approaches to product design?

Product breakdown: A product breakdown structure (PBS) is a tool for analysing,

documenting and communicating the outcomes of a project, and forms part of the product based
planning technique.

The PBS provides an exhaustive, hierarchical tree structure of deliverables (physical,

functional or conceptual) that make up the project, arranged in whole-part relationship.

Systems engineering: The design, development, production and operation of physical

systems, and systems engineering, as originally conceived, falls within this scope. "Systems
engineering", in this sense of the term, refers to the distinctive set of concepts, methodologies,
organizational structures (and so on) that have been developed to meet the challenges of
engineering functional physical systems of unprecedented complexity

Value Engineering: Value engineering (VE) is a systematic method to improve the "value" of
goods or products and services by using an examination of function. Value, as defined, is the
ratio of function to cost. Value can therefore be increased by either improving the function or
reducing the cost. It is a primary tenet of value engineering that basic functions be preserved
and not be reduced as a consequence of pursuing value improvements.

3. What are the factors influencing product design?

The major factors that determine or affect a product design are as follows:

 Requirements of targeted customers.

 Availability and access to necessary production facilities.

 Type and quality of raw-materials used to produce a product.

 Cost to price ratio.

 Policy of quality standards.

 Availability of plant and machineries.

 Impact of upcoming product on existing products of the company.

 Reputation or goodwill of the company.

CUSTOMERS’ REQUIREMENTS: The product designers must consider and study the
requirements of their targeted customers. The designed product must satisfy customers in terms
of good product requirements like quality, performance, reliability, durability, etc. The product
must create confidence among customers so that they become loyal to it and start entrusting its
company. This will lead to repeated cycle of sales for the company, thus boosting its profits.

PRODUCTION FACILITIES: The product designers must check that production

department has got all necessary facilities to produce a product. Simple product design requires
minimum production facilities. This will make the job of production department easy, and it
will also minimize the cost of production. The machines and tools which are used to produce
the product must give comfort and convenience to the employees of production department.
RAW-MATERIALS TO BE USED: The essential raw material used to build the new product
and the desired quality levels highly influence the product design. The designer must have
proper knowledge about latest materials, which are required to produce the product. He must
collect information about required materials from primary and secondary sources. He must also
find out what materials are used by the competitors for their products.

COST TO PRICE RATIO: Cost is one of the main factors, which influences the design of a
product. Sometimes the product designer is informed about the maximum cost of the product.
So he has to design the product within this cost. In such a case, he has no freedom to over-
design the product. The product designer is also guided by the cost of competitor's products. It
may happen that the designer first designs the product and then the final price of the product is
decided. In this case, the designer gets a freedom to design the products. However, he must
never over design the product.

QUALITY POLICY: The design of the product is guided by quality policy, which is fixed by
the top level of management. This policy gives guidelines for quality standard. It sets the design
trend for the future. It also builds a particular quality image of the company's products. Some
companies prefer to have the 'prestige image' for their products. For e.g. Mercedes-Benz, Rolls
Royce, Rolex Watches, etc. Other companies prefer the 'popular image' for their products.

PLANT AND MACHINERIES: The product design depends on the availability of plant and
machinery. The designer must not design a product which cannot be manufactured by the
machines available in the company. The machines to be used for production should be of good
quality and in a better condition (well maintained) to meet the needs of the product designers
and the quality standards.

EFFECT ON EXISTING PRODUCTS: The product designer must consider the impact or
effect of the product design on the existing products of the company. An upcoming new product
may badly affect the sale of existing products. The designer must avoid this situation. For e.g.
a company may design a low-quality product, but it may badly affect the sale of its high quality
existing product. Secondly, if a new product is going to replace a former product, then it must
be able to use the same manufacturing and distribution strategies of the existing product.
REPUTATION OF THE COMPANY: The product designer must consider the reputation of
the company in the market. Companies which have a good name and goodwill in the market
will want their new product designs to match or keep up their positive image.

2 marks.

1. What is product design?

Product design in defined as “the translation of intellectual wisdom, requirements of
entrepreneurs or needs of the customers, etc. into a specific product.

2. What are the importance of product design?

o 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.
o An excellent design provides competitive advantage to the manufacturer, by
ensuring appropriate quality, reasonable cost and the expected product features.

3. What are the important objectives of product design?

 The overall objective is profit generation in the long run.
 To achieve the desired product quality.
 To reduce the development time and cost to the minimum.
 To reduce the cost of the product.
 To ensure reducibility or manufacturability (design for manufacturing and

4. Write the steps involved in designing a product?

The following are the steps involved in designing a product:
STEP 1 – Idea development
Someone thinks of a need and a product/service design to satisfy it: customers,
marketing, engineering, competitors, benchmarking, reverse engineering
STEP 2 – product screening
Every business needs a formal/structured evaluation process: fit with facility and
labour skills, size of market, contribution margin, break-even analysis, return on sales
STEP 3 – preliminary design and testing
Technical specifications are developed, prototypes built, testing starts
STEP 4 – final design
Final design based on test results, facility, equipment, material, & labour skills
defined, suppliers identified.

5. What are the factors influencing product design?

 Requirements of targeted customers.
 Availability and access to necessary production facilities.
 Type and quality of raw-materials used to produce a product.
 Cost to price ratio.
 Policy of quality standards.
 Availability of plant and machineries.
 Impact of upcoming product on existing products of the company.