Full citation

Mital, S., & Desai, A. (2007). Enhancing the Product Development Process through Sequential Approach. Part I: Product Design. International Journal of Product Development, 4(1/2), 5-5.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Experience

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: First of three part series on a structured and systematic approach to new product design. Part 1 focuses on achieving efficient product design consistent with its intended function, given that functionality is the most critical variable in product design.

Setting(s) to which the reported activities/findings are relevant: Federal lab, Large business, Small business (less than 500 employees), University

Knowledge user(s) to whom the piece of literature may be relevant: Brokers, Manufacturers

Knowledge user level addressed by the literature: Organization

This article uses the Commercial Devices and Services version of the NtK Model

Primary Findings

Carrier: The design of solution to a problem in the form of a devices or service must meet the following six conditions to achieve the intended impact: 1. It must correctly embody the essential principle or arrangement articulated as the proposed solution; 2. The components must be geometrically related in extent and position, to each other and to the target person/object, in whatever way suits the intended effect. 3. The components must be strong enough to transmit and resist forces as the intended result requires. 4. Access must be provide to ensure ease of use, maintenance and consequence disassembly. 5. The cost of the result must be acceptable, with upfront cost reductions contributing to downstream profit margins. 6. The appearance of the device or service must be acceptable.
Author experience and as applied to a case study.
Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 1.3


  • Structure of the product design process — design is the process by which an idea is converted into information from which a product can be made. Several design paradigms aid in the process: 1. Need for a model — scale models, functional designs and prototypes permit revisions. 2. Need for redundancy — back-up to ensure functionality and to add a degree of safety. 3. Scale effect — ensure that all components are designed and built to the same scale to avoid interference or loss of degrees of freedom. 4. Keep the initial and entire design in mind — changes to any component may affect the whole or may distort the intended functionality. 5. Avoid confirming a false hypothesis — assumptions about how a system works can lead to failed designs. 6. Avoid tunnel vision — all factors involved in the design process need to be given due consideration.
    Author experience and as applied to a case study.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 5.1
  • Understanding target customers and their needs requires addressing multiple key attributes: 1. Analysis of critical and secondary needs — enables targeting the product to the right audience. 2. How and under what circumstances do consumers use the product — critical to ensuring that product functions are robust under different operating conditions. 3. What other products are involved — required when auxiliary devices/components (e.g., batteries, remotes) are involved. 4. Consumer perceptions of current products — to determine if the new product can address an unmet need or improve on another product's under performance. 5. Utility value of the product — its ability to satisfy both emotional and physical needs of the user.
    Author experience and as applied to a case study.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 4.11
  • Design for Manufacturing (DfM) is an approach to product design whereby the elements of quickness, ease and economy of manufacturing are addresses simultaneously. The DfM process involves the following: — Estimation of manufacturing costs from preliminary designs; — Reduce and minimize the cost of individual components; — reduce and minimize the cost of assembly; — reduce and minimize the costs of supporting production and production overheads; — consider the impact of DfM decisions on other factors such as structural rigidity, environmental concerns and functionality.
    Authors experience and as applied to a case study.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Stage 6, Stage 5
  • Product Planning should consider characteristics that differentiate successful products including: Product superiority; Market orientation; Product definition; Quality of execution; Organizational structure; Project selection; Product marketing; Role of top management; Reducing time to market; Dividing product development into stages; Picking an attractive market.
    Authors experience and as applied to a case study.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 4.1