GMS 401 Chapter Four Notes
Product design – determining the form and function of the product, products are redesigned to rejuvenate
demand and to take advantage of new technology
There are four elements that successful organizations include when creating new goods and services and
delivering them to the consumers. They are the product approval committee, core teams, phase reviews and
structured development process.
Product approval committee – consists of top management and oversees and directs the design/developmental
activities. It is also responsible for authorizing new products, reviewing their
progress at certain stages of production, allocating resources across different
projects, and ensuring consistency between company strategy and
Core teams – cross functional teams empowered to plan and lead the design/developmental projects from idea
to commercialization. This involves resoling issues and conflicts, making trade-off decisions, and
directing other support staff. Core teams usually consist of a product manager, product designer
and a manufacturing/operations representative. The team is expanded during each phase of
Phase reviews – (sometimes referred to as stage gates) this is where the core teams decides to approve, cancel or
redirect the project. Reviews help top management acquire a better understanding of the
project and force closures on any problem that may arise in the future. Phase reviews result in
recognizing the problems and making necessary changes earlier, reducing the cost of changes
and time to market.
The structured development process – the use of project management techniques. It involves breaking each
phase into steps and each step into activities, determining their
precedence relationships, scheduling and execution and control. The
steps are critical and are planned and managed by the core team.
PHASES OF PRODECT DESIGN
1. Idea generation and preliminary assessment
Ideas come from customers’ feedback, research and development staff, suppliers and competitors.
Preliminary assessment involves market, technical and financial evaluation.
2. Building a business case
This involves learning about what customers want, determining the nature of the product and assessing its
technical feasibility. You must also establish product goals and objectives, plan the nature of the production
process and perform a complete financial analysis.
3. Development of product and process
Translate the customer needs into THEIR physical product specifications such as product size, features and so
on. Choose one concept and complete the design. Build product prototypes, test and revise the design if
necessary. Design the production/service delivery process. Determine the machines and equipment you will
need, the plant layout and possible work centre designs.
1 4. Testing and validation
Perform external testing, finalize the product and process specifications and buy the machines and equipment
and start trial runs.
Introduce the final product
Concurrent engineering – a team based approach of simultaneously designing the product and process
Silo mentality – when each functional area performed its part of the design and “threw the work over the wall”
to the next department in design. This often translated into late launches and costly design
Ideas for new or improved goods and services can come from a wide range of sources, both within the
organization and from outside it: front-line employees, the suppliers and purchasing function, customers and
sales/marketing functions, competitors (through reverse engineering), and the research and development
Reverse engineering – when a company purchases and takes apart a competitor’s product to discover what it is
composed of and how the components work, with the attempt to improve their own
Research and development function – lab scientists and engineers involved in creative work on a systematic
basis to increase knowledge directed toward product and process
Key Issues In Product Design
1. The Product Life Cycle
Stage 1: Incubation – when the item is introduced, it may be treated as curiosity. Demand is low, still kinks in
Stage 2: Growth – Design improvements usually create a more reliable and less costly product. Demand grows
and awareness of product increases
Stage 3: Maturity – there are few, if any, design changes and demand levels off
Stage 4: Saturation – Saturation leads to a decline in demand
Stage 5: Decline – companies attempt to prolong the useful life o