March 23, 2019

Product Design - Review Notes

Designing a product or service or buying the design or getting the design in case of contract manufacturer is what brings into existence a business entity in the first place and then onwards expansion occurs as new product units (Finished goods SKUs),  business lines and SBUs.

New product design and development activity is a combined effort of three major functions: Marketing, New product development (Design and Development) and Manufacturing. Marketing provides customer viewpoint, product development links the customer requirements and technical scope into product, manufacturing provides the production view to be captured into product design and process plan. These three functions are supported by Industrial Engineering Function to make the design more efficient economically.

Chase, Jacobs, Acquilano identified Concept development, Product planning, Product/Process Engineering and Pilot production/Ramp-up as significant stages in introducing a new product into market.

In the concept development, the product architecture is specified taking into consideration the new customer needs as identified by the marketing function. The product architecture converts the functional requirements of the product into product's components and subassemblies  that will provide the functions as a group. The product architecture is subjected to market evaluation and project evaluation. If  it passes this gate, approval is given for making a development sample of the product without detailed engineering. This product is subjected to technical testing and marketing testing and once again project evaluation is done. If it clears this second gate of customer acceptance of the development sample, detailed engineering is approved. Based on the detailed engineering, prototypes are made. Another round of technical and market evaluations are conducted. Clearing of this gate would result in approval for pilot plant. The pilot plan would produce the actual production output and a test marketing is now done for a final demand assessment. This final demand assessment is the basis for capacity decisions of the commercial plant.

In 11th Edition (2206), they described the generic process of new product development as

Concept development,
System level design,
Design detail,
Testing and refinement, and
Production ramp-up

During concept development experimental prototypes are built and tested.

After detail design, prototypes are once again built this time with the components as specified in the detail design but not exclusively using processes specified for commercial production. These prototypes are used for technical testing of the detailed design and market tests for product acceptance.

My personal thought is that generic process of new product development function must start with preparation.

Preparation Phase or Activity of New Product Development Function  (New Addition by Me)

During this activity, the new product development department develops it capability to develop new products. It includes monitoring research taking place in the areas related to its current and potential product portfolio by subscribing and studying the research journals, attending research conferences, going through scientific and technical magazines, and handbooks. These activities would also help the department to monitor the development activities being undertaken by other organizations. Patents applied for and issues have also to be monitored by the department. Some research may be undertaken by the department or it may sponsor research in academic institutions or public or private research institutions. It will be depute its designers and developers to various training programs related to the process and management of new product development.

Concurrent Engineering

Concurrent engineering approach made possible by computer aided design and the option for making the designs-in-process visible to other departments made possible for more concurrent activities in the design process. Whereas earlier, these processes were serial, in the sense, manufacturing can't gives its view until a design was finalized and sent to it for comments by the design department. But now, the designs are visible to the manufacturing on real time basis and their comments can be given and activities at their end can commence without delay involved due to lack of information and formal handover procedures.

Industrial Design

Designing products for ease of customer use and aesthetics developed as a separate subject termed Industrial design.

Quality Function Deployment

It is a process involving marketing, design engineering and manufacturing to interact with the customers and get their voice into the new product or redesign of the existing product. In this activity, the customer requirements are found out, their priority is determined and customers are asked to compare the company's product with competitor's product in the terms of satisfying the customer. The redesign of the product is carried out to increase customer satisfaction with product and once again customers are asked to evaluate the new product and competitor's product as well as the earlier version of the company's product.

Product Design Efficiency Engineering

Value Analysis - Value Engineering (VAVE)

Effectiveness and efficiency are the twin dimensions that are there in every business decision. Once effectiveness decisions, those. which are required by the customers in terms of functional benefits and aesthetic benefits are finalized, the efficiency decisions are to be taken. The product designs have to be subjected to efficiency analysis and engineering. Value engineering is currently the popular technique for efficiency engineering. There are ideas in method study and cost reduction areas also for product design efficiency evaluation. But most of them are incorporated into value engineering also. Value engineering is a cost reduction method where the cost reduction benchmark is obtained by finding the lowest cost at which a similar function is being performed.

Designing Products for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA)

Product design has to ensure that manufacturing and assembly feasibility and cost are appropriately considered in the design process.

Reducing the number of parts is an important concern of DFMA. For this purpose for each separate part, the following questions are to be answered by the designer.

1. Does the part move relative to all other parts?
2. Must the part be made of different material?
3. Must the part be separate from all other parts to allow the disassembly of the product for adjustment or maintenance?

Chapter Outline

The Product Design Process

The Product Development Process

Economic Analysis of Product Development Projects

      Build a Base-Case Financial Model
      Sensitivity Analysis to Understand Project Trade-offs

Designing for the Customer

      Quality Function Development
      Value Analysis/Value Engineering

Designing Products for Manufacture and Assembly

       How Does Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) Work?

Measuring Product Development Performance

Summaries of All Chapters of the Book Product Design and Development by Karl Ulrich and Steven Eppinger

Product Design and Development - Summary Chapters

Presentation slides

Summaries of all Chapters of Operation Management

Updated  24 March 2019,   17 Mar 2016  5 Feb 2015,  6.12.2014,  8 Sep 2013,

MBA Core Management Knowledge - One Year Revision Schedule


  1. Nice post.........Product design is sometimes confused with (and certainly overlaps with) industrial design, and has recently become a broad term inclusive of service, software,and physical product design.product design and development

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