Product Design Process
Design is smart effective communication. Great design is timeless.
Design is the process by which we take customer desires, market requirements or a required industrial application and transform them into a valuable, aesthetically pleasing, highly functional product that meets those needs in the most simple and eloquent way possible. The creation of an object with a sensory or emotional appeal that transcends its usefulness is always the goal.
Our unique process requires many disciplines and perspectives working together towards a common goal.
Product Concept Phase
The most important part of the design process is to fully document your concept (the problem). We develop a Market Requirement Document and then a Product Concept Document. Using these as references a complete Scope of Work is developed outlining the stages of development with a rough schedule.
Concept Generation Phase
Depending on the product this can include sketches of the product, system level outlines, process steps, wire-frames, digital 3D models, etc. The important part of this process is to vet through a multitude of possibilities. You and the design team then decide on a course for the product. One useful technique for evaluating concepts is a product evaluation matrix. First you create a baseline, from the baseline you evaluate, rate and compare different alternatives on multiple criteria.
Design Development Phase
Now that you have made an informed decision on the final concept, it is time to fill in the blanks. We define all components and systems within the design. We work closely with manufacturing to ensure manufacturability and your marketing department to insure requirements for the product are being met. Analysis and refinements are incorporated into this phase.
Detail Design Phase
In this phase manufacturing, assembly and individual component drawings are created. Process steps are outlined for manufacturing and the design is mostly finalized. It is usually necessary for a prototype to be fabricated at this point.
Testing & Refinement Phase
Once you approve of the detailed requirements, product testing is conducted. We review and compare the results to the requirements and cumulatively with your team decide whether we need more refinements. If required, we make the necessary changes to the drawings, build a new prototype and then go through another round of testing until you are satisfied. It is important to state here that there is a point that needs to be determined where the product is good enough for your market introduction or application. Many products go through successive iterations over their lifetime due to changing market demands or competition. There is a fine balance here with the need to constantly upgrade your product and to beat your competition to the marketplace.
In this phase we walk the design through manufacturing. We conduct an in-depth review of the specifications and processes required to manufacture the product and a production schedule is formalized.
Manufacturing Support Phase
As manufacturing starts constant engineering support is required. Minor issues can balloon to major schedule issues. It is important to support production during the start up phase.
Post Production Phase
This phase is a review of the first products off the production line. Qualification testing is required and often adjustments to the manufacturing processes are implemented.
Product Sustaining Phase
As the product is produced on a regular basis issues will occur on a regular basis. Depending on the product this can be relatively minor, escalating to critical issues. Sometimes components become obsolete or certain materials are hard to get. It is important to have a technical lead address all and any issues that manufacturing might face.