Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Product Design for Operational Effectiveness
The catch phrase today is that “money can't buy you happiness, but it sure can buy you everything else”. The situation at present is such that you can literally buy anything; be it a trip to Mars or someone to cut your nails!
So what does that mean to the business world? Traditionally a product or service had to have few basic characteristics and we had a good business. The product had to be producible, profitable, have utility and should be differentiable. The business had its loyal customers, and the rules were quite simple.
And then people changed, they became much more broad minded. They listened to new ideas. Self-actualization came in closer to the basic need. People wanted to explore and a traditional job and way of living was no longer necessary to them.
Suddenly a jacket could also be designed to be worn inside out and it was accepted. It was in fact fashionable to do so. Each generation came up with newer ideas and they also happen to have a larger disposable income. Experimentation became the “in” thing and people found newer and cheaper ways to do business.
A product now is never a single product; it is designed to be multipurpose. For example a mobile phone is not just a device used to make calls; it is now a camera, a networking interface, a torch, a gaming console, a television and even a mirror. This new product is a win-win situation to both the business as well as the consumer. A Product should be designed in such a way where it can deliver its value to customer and make a profit for the organization. The more innovative the product is, the better it does in the market which of course makes the business more successful.
However it is not just about adding more features to the core product, these features need to coexist with effectiveness. It does not really work if a mobile phone has a 32 megapixel camera but takes 10 minutes to start the camera. Operational effectiveness has to be the number one criteria when designing a product. It has come to a point where the perceived functional benefits of a product is a major factor which influences a buying decision.
Hence the importance of product design is to make the customer happy by meeting the needs and the desires of the customer and by maximizing the value for the customer at minimal rate, which may require the enhancement or modification to the existing product rather than producing a new one. The first stage includes analyzing the customer needs, the market trend and planning for the product, followed by converting the ideas using the latest technologies into a resourceful product which can really satisfy the customer expectations. Finally bringing the product to the market for its final competition completes the full cycle of product design. Well, an organization must follow the three stages of product design in order to become successful.
A good team with enough knowledge on the supply chain of the organization is very essential. And the need for right kind of raw materials which meets the quality standards, the need for testing the product before it is out in the market are factor that may affect the process of product design.
Thus, product must be designed very well for customer satisfaction and must be powerful enough to provide a competitive advantage for the organization.