It seems there will always be demand for new products. Out with the old and in with the new. Our economy is obsessed with upgrading. Because of this, new product design and development will always be necessary. Design refers to the process of creating the look and feel of a product, and deciding how to structure it. Development is the process of actually bringing the design to life.
It is very costly and time consuming to create a new product. The process includes concept development, system-level design, detail design, testing and refinement, and product ramp-up. Concept development means defining your target market and the needs being met, coming up with different prototypes to test product feasibility, identifying competition, and estimating production costs. Concept development is simply a launching point for product development. Before spending money on a product’s design, it is important to do research and ensure that this product can be made, will meet a need, and that the cost of production will not be higher than the value of the product.
System-level design means developing product options, generating alternative product designs, identifying suppliers, create a study, and define the final production plan. System-level design is the creation of the “how” in product development. This covers how supplies will be attained, how the product will look, how the company will go about producing it, etc. It is critical to understand the how before getting started, so that you have a clear plan.
Detail design is when the product engineering is done for each individual necessary component. This process is also known as “design-for-manufacture.” This includes choosing materials, shape, color, finish, etc. for each individual item.
During the testing and refinement stage, many product prototypes are built and tested in order to find flaws and areas of improvement. This stage can be very expensive depending on the product you are manufacturing. Cars, for example, must do extensive crash tests before hitting the market. These tests are costly because the company must manufacture and destroy many cars in order to prove that the car meets safety standards.
The final stage in product design and development is product ramp-up. This allows manufacturers to build slowly towards full-blown production in order to get the workforce trained on the new product, and allow the company to work out kinks with producers and vendors. Once these stages are complete, the company may begin full manufacturing, and enter their product into the market.