Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Swiss Army knife - Product designed for utility value

Swiss Army Knife is considered as one of the greatest innovations of our time. It serves as a very handy tool to open cans, file nails, unscrew objects, and the latest knives even come with a flashlight - all of which fit in your pant pockets. I find the design of the knife to be very interesting. In this blog post, I will explore the origins of the swiss army knife and the inspiration behind the design and talk about the company, Victorinox, that manufactures the Swiss army knives.

Apparently, the pocket knife was invented by the Romans in 200 A.D.[1] The knife design is believed to have tools that are used for basic everyday functions. The ancient knife comes equipped with a spoon, blade, spatula, fork, tooth pick and a spike. Fast forward 1800 years to 1987 which is when the Swiss Army Knife is said to be invented for the Swiss army. The knife featured can opener and a screwdriver for the soldiers to disassemble rifles. The knife was colored red/black so it could be easily located in snow.[2]

The oldest pocket knife invented by Romans in 200 A.D:

A simple Swiss Army Knife today:

Victorinox and Wegner are the two largest Swiss manufacturers producing the Swiss Army knives. The Victorinox knives have gained immense popularity because they were given to US Army, Naval, and Air forces. The NASA has also ordered the knife to be a standard equipment for the Columbia space shuttle program. The Swiss cross serves as sign of quality which explains why Victorinox is so popular today. As stated in an article, every component of the knife has been thoroughly thought of from a functionality perspective and not just the cost. Victorinox has patented the design of mini-screwdriver. The wood saw, metal saw are created after being put through careful manufacturing processes of heating and surface hardening. To top it all, every knife going through the Swiss quality control check in which over 90 people inspect the product to ensure the quality standards are being met. The product needs to be free from defects of both material and workmanship.[3]

An interesting fact about Swiss Army knife is that it has been included in the Guiness book of world records for "most functions on a penknife". The latest version has 87 tools and 115 uses and is manufactured by Wenger.[4] In terms of experience, Victorinox wants its customers to feel proud about owning a Swiss Army knife. It encourages its customers to share stories of using the knife and features the stories on their website.[5] They even hold contests for designing knives thus encouraging innovation. A Victorinox Swiss Army Climber knife costs $16 on Amazon today, which is definitely affordable considering the utility value it offers.

The Swiss Army Knife that set the Guiness world record for "most functions on a penknife":

Victorinox has come far in designing a niche, useful product like the Swiss Army knife. I don't own a Swiss Army knife, but after reading about it for this post, I intend to go ahead and purchase one for myself. Can you think of other products that are simple in design but have gained immense popularity due to its utility value? We now see several products in the market that are duplicates of the original product, and that same is true with the Swiss Army knife as well. However, customers choose to pay money for the quality of the product. Can you think of other products that are popular and are able to hold onto the market share on the grounds of quality?

[1]: An unabridged history of the Swiss Army Knife - http://www.newlyswissed.com/?p=3740
[2]: Tracing the history of Swiss Army Knife - http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/09/tracing-the-army-knifes-swiss-history/
[3]: Victorinox Swiss Army Knives Infor - http://www.pizzini.at/info_sak_engl.htm
[4]: Now That's a Knife: Swiss Army Knife sets record for Tools -  http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312483,00.html
[5]:The Flawless Swiss Army Knife - http://brabbu.com/blog/2012/08/the-flawless-swiss-army-knife/

1 comment:

  1. ​These seems to be the best Victorinox Swiss knife which are best for multiple applications. 


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