product and process design

Product and process design


 product and services are produced to satisfy the customer needs ,which serve the purpose of all stakeholders in the cycle of business. The product or service should consist of all the attributes required by the customer. Initially the customer is attracted towards the product because of its aesthetics and packaging. The combined package of attributes, aesthetics and packaging has to be designed in the product is service by the design engineers, keeping in mind the criteria if practical conformance and possible to manufacture. Each design has its own characteristics which decide the degree of efficiency and effectiveness. The design must be good enough producible and comparable to the competing brands. It is the first step of product or service which determine the degree of quality level and capacity to satisfy the customer. It also forecasts the future trends and acceptability of that product in the market.

what is good design?

although it is difficult to define what is good design is common features hold true across industries and product types. So a well designed product tends to combine the following qualities.

1. useful: It functions as per expectations and satisfies the customer up to an optimum level of  performance. It has proper ergonomics and user interface.

2. desirable: It looks nice depending on the nature of the market lifestyle culture age gender education occupation and other competitive and complementary is important for the product aesthetics.

3. producible: these should be economical volume  manufactured with the help of appropriate production methods.

4. profitable: it must give benefits in terms of market share gross margin  break even turnover or sales volume.

5. Differentiable: differentiation can be achieved through satisfying the basic user needs in new and different ways such as excellence in the products physical attributes or by providing leading support services.


product design refers to transforming new innovation and effective ideas into a product through a process. Entrepreneurs conceive ideas analyse them implement them through feasibility studies and systems approach and then finally convert those ideas into a tangible product or intangible service, This process can be facilitated and enhanced by computers information technology digital tools and nano-technology. The process has three stages as described below.

1. first stage: This stage involves creating an idea from imagination or observation through conscious or sub-conscious efforts or research. The idea should satisfy the need to do a specific task or job.

2. second stage: in this stage product design solutions come from the need of meeting the user expectations using the various techniques ranging from exploration, ergonomics to prototyping for producing as per the design.

3. third stage: it is the third or last stage of marketing which is responsible for selling and distributing the product up to the last stage of operations ie consumer.


Product or service design is the first step in the process of providing the product or service to the customer in order to fulfill and satisfy  their needs. so the basic objective of product design is to satisfy the customer to the maximum at the minimum cost, thereby increasing the market share and profit of the stakeholders. Besides these objectives some other important objective are as follows:

  • Customer needs and desires are satisfied by products services with the help of efficient product design.
  • Existing products are modified to enhance the use value or utility.
  • Quality functions are taken care by better product design.
  • The cost of the product is minimized and the product is made simpler through product design process.
  • The marketability of the product can be improved.
  • Product design increases usability reliability functionality aesthetics and dependability.
  • Product design can make the process of manufacturing simpler ergonomical and cheaper.
Guiding principles in designing the product

For a good design the following guiding principle can be adopted:

  • An effective new product development (NPD) process: A good process requires effective teamwork, encourages strong communication and provides management control.
  • Expert designers constituting part of core team: A project may require a human expert stylistic input or software interface design skills. Strong teams understand when and a where external support is required.
  • Design supplementing competence and skill: External specialists should be considered a part of the design team. Such partnerships are the critical ingredients of success.
  •  Appropriate projects for optimum use of resources: An effective product strategy should be linked closely to the overall business strategy. It needs the selection of the right projects because of the cost incurred.
  • Design fulfilling market needs: Formulating a shared vision of the product to be  designed bringing together marketing industrial design production and engineering aspects is important. Is should be based on the market how it is segmented and where the opportunity is to be targeted.
  • Practical design leading to optimum production: The team should maintain the shared vision throughout the project from idea through design to production.
  • Involvement of consumer needs is design: Users can create valuable insights into future needs and wants. User involvement during concept selection can help significantly in decision-making. Users must be included in market testing.
  • Inculcating creativity through innovative ideas: One of the features of a strong design team is the ability to be divergent in search of solution to problems and creating a culture which supports innovation and creativity.
  • Multiple phase prototyping from the beginging: Product design has high inherent risks such as market business and technical risks. Prototyping model making simulation concept testing and evaluation can be an effective way of reducing these risks.
  • Importance of both tangible and intangible attributes: In some companies design teams focus on performance and functionality the tangible product attributes and often pay little attention to intangible attributes. But there should be an equal consideration of both tangible and intangible product attributes.
  • Optimum variety with minimum cost and complexity: Products are generally designed one at a time. Modular approach can reduce complexity as well as cost while delivering the variety. 


The whole operations managements revolves around product design as it directly influences the utility of a product of services to the customer. Certain aspects of product design are very critical for the product life cycle which are listed as below:

  • During the design stage itself the complete package of attributes of a product or service is established.
  • The production process depends on the design of the product ie which technology to be used. Skill level of manpower is also determined at this stage.
  • The whole aggregate planning depends on product design.
  • Product design creates the utility value in the mind of the target customer by specifying the features related to performance durability reliability safe use aesthetics and thus marketability.
  • A good product design is the initial assurance of the success of the product and the project.
There are many more aspects that are taken care of by product design. As it is the starting point of the whole production process. It becomes very important to design the product or service in an effective and efficient manner.


The product depends on many issues ranging from the requirements and needs of the customer the feasibility of the process quality of raw materials budget and competitive price of the product to the quality parameters to be put into the products. Some of the factors are as listed below:

  • Product attributes
  • Easy to manufacture
  • Customer requirements
  • Availability of manpower
  • Cost/price limit
  • Process/technological capability
  • Process methods and layouts
  • Quality level of raw materials
  • Balance to be obtained between the cost and functions of the products
  • packaging aesthetics and attractiveness
  • The desired quality level of the finished product
  • Branding and brand loyalty of existing products.

Global firms know that the basis for an organizations existence in the good or service it provides society. Great products are the keys to success. Anythings less then an excellent product strategy can be devastating to a firm. To maximize the potential for success top companies focus on only a few products and then concentrate on those products. Howevers because most products have a limited and even predictable life cycle companies must constantly be looking for new products to design develop and take to market. Good operations managers insist on strong communication among customer product processes and suppliers that results in a high success rate for their new products.

One product strategy is to build particular competence in customizing an established family of goods or services. This approach allows the customer to choose product variations while reinforcing the organizations strength. An effective product strategy links product decisions with investment market share and product life cycle and defines the breadth of the product line. The objective of the product decision is to develop and implement a product strategy that meets the demands of the marketplace with a competitive advantage.

Product strategy options support competitive Advantage

various options exist in the selection definition and design of products. Product selection is choosing the good or service to provide customers or clients. Organizations provide different product strategy options to support competitive advantage. some firms differentiate itself by offering  a distinctly unique and high-quality product. Some firms develop and execute a low-cost strategy through product design. while some firms provides a rapid response to changing consumer demand. Product decisions are fundamental to an organizations strategy and have major implications throughout the operations functions. 


The demand for a product its market acceptance generally tends to follow a predictable pattern called the product life cycle. Products go through a series of stages beginning with low demand during market development proceeding through growth maturity high volume saturation and finally decline. The time spans of the stages vary considerably across industries. For novelty products the time from birth to death may be as short as a few weeks or months. For other products the life cycle may span many years or even decades. In any case the very nature of this pattern raises significant questions for operations management. Regardless of the length of the cycle. the task for the operations manager is the same to design a system that helps introduce new products successfully, Operations manager needs to determine the pattern and process of each stage of product life cycle and then forecast the resources required for producing the product. If the operations functions cannot perform effectively at this stages, the firm may be saddled with losers products that cannot be produced efficiently and perhaps not at all.

Product line can be divided into four phases. Those phases are introduction, growth. maturity,decline.


just as operations managers must be prepared to develop new products they must also to prepared to develop strategies for new and existing products. Periodic examination of products is appropriate because strategies change as products move through their life cycle successful product strategies requires determining the best strategy for each product based on its position in its life cycle. A firm therefore identifies products or families of products and their position in the life cycle. Let us review some strategy options as products move through their life cycles.

Introductory phase

It is the early stage when product is introduced on the market. Sales revenue begins to grow but the rate of growth is very slow. Profit may not be there due to low sales volume limited production and distribution cost. Heavy advertising and sales promotion are required. Products are brought cautiously on a trial basis. Weakness may be revealed and they must be promptly removed. In stage the product development and design are of considerable importance.

Because products in the introductory phase are still being fine-tuned for the market, as are their production techniques they may warrant unusual expenditures for (1) research, (2) product development (3) process modification and enhancement and (4) supplier development. For example when cellular phones were first introduced, the features desired by the public were still being determined. At the same time, operations managers were still groping for the best manufacturing techniques. 

Growth phase 

It is the period during which the product is accepted by customers and the traders. During the growth stage, the rate of increase of revenue and profit is rapid. The firms here focus on increasing market share by focusing on the distribution and advertisement on virgin markets. The rapid increase of sales creates more pressure on the production thus the major concern of operations manager on growth phase is produce the product of desired quality and quantity at time of demand.

in the growth phase product design has begun to stabilize and effective forecasting of capacity requirements is necessary. Adding capacity or enhancing existing capacity to accommodate the increase in product demand may be necessary.

Maturity phase

During this stage the keen competition brings pressure on the prices, Increasing marketing expenditure is involved in the product modification and improvement and broadening the product line. The saturation point occurs when all potential buyers are already using the product and there are only repetitive purchases by loyal customers. None of new users are generated Overall marketing and production efficiency is needed for keeping the market share intact. 

By the time a product is mature competitors are established. So high volume innovative production may be appropriate. Improved cost control reduction in options and a paring down of the product line may be effective or necessary for profitability and market share.

Decline phase

Once the peak or saturation point is reached product inevitably enters to decline stage and become obsolete. It may be gradually replaced by some new innovations, Sales drop severely, competition dwindles and even the product cannot stand in the market. At this stage, the price become the primarily weapon of competition and we have to reduce considerably expenditure and advertisement and sales promotion. Manufacturing cost control becomes the key to generate profit.

Management may need to be ruthless with those products whose life cycle is at an end, Dying products are typically poor products in which to invest resources and managerial talent. Unless dying products makes some unique contribution to the firms reputation or its product line or can be sold with an unusually high contribution, their production should be terminated.

Product by value analysis

The effective operations manager selects items that show the greatest promise. This is the Pareto principle ( i.e  focus on the critical few not the trivial many) applied to product mix: Resources are to be invested in the critical few and not the trivial many. Product by value analysis lists products in descending order of their individual dollor contribution to the firm. It also lists the total annual dollar contribution of the product. Low contribution on a pre unit basis by a particular product may look substantially different if it represents a large portion of the company's sales.

Product by value report allows management to evaluate possible strategies for each product. These may include increasing cash flow(e,g increasing contribution by raising selling price or lowring cost), increasing market penetration (improving quality and or reducing cost or price) or reducing cost(improving the production process).Contribution is defined as the difference between direct cost and selling price. Direct costs are labor and material that go into the product. The report may also tell mangement which product offering should be eliminated and which fail to justify futher investment in research and development or capital equipment. Product by value analysis focuses managements attention on the strategic direction for each product.

Some of the useful questions


very short answer questions

1. What is CAD?

2. what is modular design?

3. Name two factors that could make service design much different from product design.

4. Explain the term robust design.

5. why is it necessary to document a product explicitly?

6. In what ways is product strategy linked to product decisions?

7.what are three specific ways inn which computer aided design (CAD) benefits the design engineer?

8. what is meant by sustainability in the context of operations managements?

9. what strategic advantages does computer aided design provide?

10. what do you mean by concurrent engineering?

11. list the qualities of good design.

12. write about product-by-value analysis.

13.what are the new product opportunities that a firm should focus on?

14. why new product development is important for the firm?

15. what do you mean by quality function deployment?

16. Explain the term design for manufacture and assembly (DFMA).

17. what do you mean by service delivery system?

18. what are the various characteristics of service system?

19. write the guidelines for successful service design.

20. some suggest that customer expectation is the key to service success, Give an example from your own experience to support or refute this assertion.

21. what do you mean by process?

22. what is process strategy?

23. what is service blueprinting?

24. what is process redesign?

25. list the four process strategies.

26. what is process focus?

27. what is repetitive focus?

28. what is mass customization?

29. what is intermittent process?

30. Briefly explain about modules.

31. what do you mean by continuous process?

32. what do you mean by flowcharts?

33. what are the various ingredients in mass customization?

34. what do you mean by time-function mapping?

35. what do you mean by value stream mapping?

36. what do you mean by process charts?

37. what do you mean by service blueprinting?

38. what do you mean by baseline time-function map and target time function map.

39. write down the steps needed to complete the value steam map.

40. write about poka-yokes in service blueprint.

41. what do you mean by process selection?

42. what do you mean by project layout?

43. what do you mean by workcenter?

44. write about manufacturing cell.

45. what do you mean by assembly line?

46. what do you mean by continuous process?

47. what do you mean by assembly line?

48. what do you mean by continuous process?

49. what do you mean by quasi-manufacturing process technology?

50. what do you mean by mass service process technology?

51. what do you mean by custom shop service technology?

52. what do you mean by professional services process technology?

53. contrast design capacity and effective capacity.

54. how do capacity decisions influence productivity?

55. why is capacity planning one of the most critical decisions a manager has to make?

56. In what ways  technology have an impact on capacity planning?

57. if a plant has an effective capacity of 6500 and an efficiency of 88% what is the actual(planned) output?

58. what do you mean by economies of scale and diseconomics of scale?

59. what do you mean by efficiency and utilization?

60. what do you mean by capacity?

Descriptive answer questions

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