Product development process

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1. (A) Explain what is meant by the phrase “Product Development Process” (PDP).

Product development is a set of process which helps in building a product using customer needs gathered from the market research, followed by production, sales and delivering the product. This method helps the organisation to make the communication flow better through the various departments like marketing team, design team and development team. It also means delivering the product to the specified group of people at right time. (Ulrich and eppinger, 2003)

Product development process coordinates all the teams to work together at certain stages in the product development. By this way all teams are involved at a particular stage in the product development process to certain extent.

A good Product development process helps in achieving quality and improving the product.

The basic six steps followed in a product development process is as follows,

  1. Planning:

    Planning phase is usually not considered as the first stage, as this phase deals with the approval of the product development process. The target market is analysed for the product needed. This phase is used to plan market size and location, also about the product characteristics.

  2. Concept development:

    The product development process actually starts with this phase and is considered as the first stage. According to the data's collected by the market research done in target market, different concepts are created and then each is evaluated between them. The best concepts are selected and tested further.

  3. system-level design:

    In system-level design the product design is differentiated in to smaller sub system and  each part is given  a brief geometric measurements and specifications.

  4. Detail design:

    Detail design gives specification of each and every sub system considering various aspects like geometry, material, aesthetics and strength. Also tooling details are described and documented for each part. The documentation contains various informations like material needed, tool required and how it fits the product.

  5. Testing and refinement:

    In testing phase, a prototype of the product is created according to its exact shape and size, then it is tested for its functionality and operations. Also individual parts are tested by fitting it together. Prototype is mainly created to check whether the product is working according to its characteristics or not. Product can also be refined by getting customer feedback for the prototype and the level of satisfaction can be measured.

  6. Production ramp-up:

    Production ramp-up is carried out in order to avoid faults during the production by less experienced labour force. The products produced are supplied to registered users in order to get feedback from them. The feedbacks helps to reduce faults if there are any thing in the product. After several iteration the ramp-up is transformed in to mass production and then supplied to the target market.

  7. These are the steps that are followed in a traditional product development process.

1(B). Explain why communication is important in the PDP.

In a product development process success is achieved only when people work together to bring co-ordination between the process and product development methods.

When organisation grew larger, more is expected to be delivered thus the complexity of product increases. Thus organisational hierarchy is formed to manage the complexity of the company. Also complex product needs specialised persons to control the product. Also a communication gap or miscommunication is possible in most occasions because of the diversity of people working in multi-national organisations. Because People might be from different backgrounds like their country, language and time zones.

These barriers prevent them from effective free flow of communication between these teams. As a result of poor communication between the teams, information from one team to another is not passed properly. This might result in a faulty product or a product which the customer never specified.

In  a product development process, several teams are involved in developing a specific product. The product might be divided in to various sub-systems which is assigned to a particular team. In this case communication between various teams is necessary and vital. The information collection starts with the market research and then followed by the concept generation. Here the concept generation is developed by the team by the information provided by the market researcher. If any information is not clear or unavailable then the fault continues to flow throughout the product development life cycle till the end. So it is necessary for each and every team to participate in the stages of product development process in order to interpret the information according to the customer needs and requirements. (

Case study:

In a case study dealing with the communication problems that occur in different levels of product development process networking, explains the possible problems that occur due to lack of proper communication. They are due to lack of trust and mis understanding between the team members, which leads to hiding critical product details.

Also the flow of information from top level project manager to other level of people like the design and development team might not be sufficient. Also the information might not reach the person who needs it the most.

Due to lack of documentation in design and other information developed by the product development team. In some cases the development team might get confused to which one is the latest iterated design, so that they can continue with the further development of the product.


These are the various problems that can occur during a product development process if the flow of communication is not even throughout the various teams involved like marketing, design, production and sales. Poor communication often result in product failure, low customer satisfaction and the worst case may even lead to completely different product from the original description. To avoid these failures, all teams should be involved in all stages of the product development. So that each team can gather information according to their field and also they will have a basic idea of what other teams are working in.

1(C).How might a company's structure affect the PDP?

Companies structure is indirectly decided by the product and the development process followed by it. In earlier days, the companies were much smaller and all the aspects of a business is managed by a single person. When the requirements of customer grew larger, product complexity got increased. In the later stages, each individual is assigned to specific departments and they had people below them performing the functions.

The information flow was better when there were few people in the organisation. When the number of people working in an organisation increased, information flow was not easy as before.

When companies started producing mass production, the organisation was big enough not to be controlled by a single person. So the board of directors were introduced, who take all the important decisions. Under the board of directors there were managers for different departments. In this type of system, the information has to reach nearly three to four levels below for those who work on the development. 

Organisational structure affects the product development mainly in the flow of communication from top to bottom level. If the companies structure has many level of hierarchy, then the flow of information needs to be in two dimensional, both horizontal and vertical. So there is always a possibility of poor flow of communication when such hierarchy is followed. Also the decision making ability is not confined with a single person in large organisations, so the time-to-market for a product is increased.

In larger organisation, the person collecting the data's might be different from the one who is documenting it. Also various other factors like, delay in time for the information to reach others in the team affects the product development process. In this type of system, the information takes time to reach all the people working in different teams. So it causes some delay in the process.


2 (A). What is the purpose of Market Research in the PDP?

Market research is aimed to get various data's like, customer expectation, competitor analysis, target market, and the position of product in the market. The businesses can easily know what product the customer is expecting and how much they are willing to pay for it. In product development process it is the first step of gathering the requirements from the customers, suppliers and distributers about the new product.

According to a case study done by ---------------------, market research can lead to two results, one improvements in the current product, second a whole new product according to the changing requirements of the users.

Wright says that, market research is done to identify three main objectives,

  1. Market opportunities:

    Demand for current product, how far it will change for a new product and their competitors product.

  2. Target markets:

    Identifying a particular set of people who are their major buyers. They may be catageorised according to age, sex, geopgraphy, religion, e.t.c

  3. Market stratergy:

    Identifying the best stratergy for marketing, increasing demand, distribution and sales.

Also wright talks about segmenting the market, which will help in improving the market opportunities. The main aim is to identify the target buyers and find what attribute is making them to behave in such way. By knowing the key attributes, it can be further improved ,so that demand for that product increases more. Market is senmented using certain set of variables like sex, age, geographic, occupation, income e.t.c

By using all these market segmentation and market objectives the main aim is to build a right product ,what the customer expected.

Case study:

A case study on nivia's pearl and beauty deodorant.

Nivia conducted market research to discover customer needs for improving their product. They used secondary research at the beginning  by analysing datas like amount consumed and fragnances.

Later for cartain data's they lack secondary reports, so they started doin primary research like customer meetings, focus groups e.t.c

The result was surprising, as the output was what not they expected. They found a new opportunity in the market for a new product. Women needed some deodorant to take care of their under arm after shaving. Women cared more of their beauty than the functionality. They are cared about sensuality and feminity, while the deodorant is conserned with flavour and functionality.

This research helped nivia to develop a product for women's underarm, which no competitor is offering. Thus nivia landed in launching a new unique product first of its kind to the customers using the market research.


2(B).What is the purpose of a Product Design Specification (PDS)?

Transferring the customer requirements in to a document called the design specification, which is intern used for the product development. Here many design specifications can be made for a single product and can be checked for which one satisfies the customer more. PDS can also stand as a tool for measuring whether the designer has taken all the aspects of customer requirements. In many cases most of the requirements cannot be bought into the design as some are not feasible to incorporate into the product.

Product design specification is considered most important in product development because what requirements are gathered is only made into product. So if anything goes wrong in requirements gathering, it affects the whole product. Also the cost of correcting the error at the later stages of product development is heavy. So it is better to correct the defects in the early stages like the design specifications. So product design specification should be given great attention during its compilation.

Accordint to wright the three main objectives of product design specifications are

  • Converting the customer reuirments in to design specifications.
  • Test the various PDS made to find the best one which is appropriate for the requirements.
  • Creating the specification in a way which will have least number of errors and redundancy.


PDS consists of data's which helps in building the final product. The data's are largely of quantitative type, which is nothing but the customer requirements documented in it. Before developing the product design specifications, there should be no assumptions on the product. By this way, there is a possibility of getting new concept designs.

The main purpose of product design specifications is that it needs to address the user needs which forms the main success criteria for the product.

In  an article for product design specifications, a checklist for PDS is given, which should be included in every product. They are as follows

  • Performance- what is the product life?, frequency of use, operation speed, etc.
  • Environment- where will be the product used? What are the external conditions affecting the product?
  • Product cost- buying power and product demand determines the cost.
  • Competitor analysis- what is the difference from competitor product?
  • Quality and manufacture- is all the parts manufacturable by the company or does it needs to outsource some of it?
  • Materiels- what material is needed to build the product? Where it is available? And who are all the suppliers?
  • Quality and consistency- what is the quality the people expect from the product?
  • Standards- what all standards do the product has to follow in order to be leagalised.
  • Patents- is it legal to make this design or do we need to pay for the copyrights?
  • Packaging and shipping- how will the product distributed to its customers and what will be the external packaging for it?
  • Market and company constraints- does the existing market have the capacity for the new product to accommodate? And does the company has capacity to launch a new different product from what they are doing with out affecting the old production process?


These checklist ensure that all details are included in product design specifications, so that any errors occur in the early stage can be corrected easily without much effort than going for a mass production for a faulty product.

2 (C). Why use rapid prototyping in the PDP?

Rapid prototyping:

A prototype is something that is built for test purposes. We can also say that a prototype is a first of its kind that needs to be developed further. Creating a prototype using rapid process technology is called rapid prototyping.  Rapid prototyping uses 3-d CAD models to create products. Rapid prototyping came in to emergence by 1988, since then more than 20 rapid prototyping methods have been introduced.

All these rapid prototyping methods fundamentally use three stages in production. They are as follows

  1. Designing a CAD/CAM file which contains the measurements of object to be built. This CAD file should be a closed one in order to get solid objects.
  2. Building a “STL” file which contains the details of surface of object to be built. It approximates the surface and makes them in to small polygons.
  3. STL file is then cross sectioned in to thin slices which is then built layer by layer to form a 3d model.

(CHUA C.K., 2003)

Types and Examples of rapid prototyping:

Certain types of prototyping can be used at the final stages of product development. Some of the methods are as follows,

The types are differentiated based on what method the machine applies when treating the layer. Some of them are,


SLA uses uv rays to solidify the liquid acrylic polymer layer by layer until the final model is formed. Building a prototype using these technologies are very expensive compared to the traditional process (SMITH)


A computer keyboard model (fig 1.1) made using epoxy and PE plastic by steriolithography process. (Danish Technological Institute, 2005)

Selective laser sintering (SLS):

SLS uses the principle of sintering. In sintering the metallic or non-metallic powders are melted partly using the data available from the CAD models. (SMITH)


An engine block (fig 1.2) built on a SLS machine. Using SLS functional prototype can also be built. Materialise says that SLS can also be used for small production series of 50-100. (Materialise, 2009)

Advantages of Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Manufacturing:

The main advantage of rapid prototyping in product development is the reduced project risk, cost and time. Using prototyping before the large volume production begins will help to rectify any design defects. This also saves the risk of avoiding defected products during manufacturing process.

Early stages of prototyping help us to visualize products which gives the users to have an idea of how will the products look like. It is possible to make changes at the initial stages itself according to the requirements of users. Thus the users get higher output. (Hobart, 2008)

These technologies can also produce prototypes without tools and can also produce functional prototypes. Also the accuracy and finishing of prototypes produced by this way is better than the one produced by traditional manufacturing process.

The benefits of rapid prototyping can be classified into two types.

  1. Direct
    1. Benefits to product designers.
    2. Benefits to tooling and manufacturing engineers
  2. Indirect
    1. Benefits to marketing
    2. Benefits to the customers.

1) Direct:

The direct benefit for the company using rapid prototyping is the freedom to work for them on any complex objects. Many impossible complex structures which cannot be build using traditional process can be build at one go. Also the time duration has increased when the complexity increases. This can be reduced by using the CAD models for modelling and then using the data to build it. The time taken for a prototype has decreased gradually after the invention of rapid process technology.

  • Benefits to product designers:

    Product designers have the freedom to work with complex designs without having an effect on cost and production time. They can optimise the design according to the customer needs.

  • Benefits to tooling and manufacturing engineers.

    The main benefit for manufacture is the cost savings. Manufacture can foresee the products profit as they can calculate the direct, indirect and over head costs. Also the manufacture can reduce labour costs since this is almost an automated process.

2) Indirect process:

Indirect benefits are from the marketing and customer support department.

  • Benefits to marketing:

    Rapid prototyping helps the products to reach the market is less time. As a result product which fits the customers are more likely to evolve, also it gives the customer the best value for the money and makes best use of the technology. Products can be tested in market economically. Products can also be produced according to the market demand with fewer changes in design and manufacturing.

Effective use of Rapid prototyping in Product development process:

Rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing are best used when we have the following conditions,

  • When time required for product creation is very low.

    When a manufacturing concern needs to create a product quickly before its rival firm they opt for rapid process technology by which they can introduce new products in to market quickly.

  • When product customisation needs to be done easily.

    Using rapid process technology products can be easily customised without any tooling costs or time delay. Changes can be made in the design before creating. Also more products will evolve which fits the customer when we use rapid process technology.

  • When very complex structures need to be made.

    Rapid manufacturing machines can make complex structures as everything is computer aided. The complexity of making a complex structure in RM machines in only during designing phase, where the difficulty is designing the CAD file.

  • When accuracy is vital.

    Using rapid manufacturing machines accurate parts can be made without any defect. The part made is done in a single step process. So any complex structure made is of single part.

  • When volume of production is low.

    In Rapid prototyping and manufacturing machines cost of production is very high when compared to other processes. So it is not suggested for high volume productions. When there is a need to make a single prototype or for any other low volume productions it can be used. 

Advantages of using rapid prototyping in PDP when compared to traditional processes:



Rapid manufacturing is an automated process which needs less labour.

Traditional process needs more labour to create a product

In rapid manufacturing no tools are required.

Without tools products cannot be built.

Rapid manufacturing takes only few hours (1-48+ hours)to complete a product.

Traditional manufacturing takes weeks to produce a product.

Products created using rapid manufacturing are accurate in size and dimensions.

Traditional manufacturing might not be as accurate to those created by rapid manufacturing machines.

Very complex geometric structures can be built using this technology.

Complex structures are difficult to build with such accuracy and finishing.

This process allows freedom for the designers to come up with new and creative designs.

In this process there is few design limitations.

Rapid manufacturing technology is quiet expensive.

Traditional manufacturing is a cheap process.

Rapid manufacturing is a new technology so it is not standardised as the traditional ones.

Traditional manufacturing has set of certain standards.

Rapid manufacturing is best suited when we use it for low volume manufacturing.

Traditional manufacturing is best suited for high volume manufacturing.

Part cost is constant irrespective of the number of parts made.

Part cost decreases when the volume of production increases.

There are many advantages of using rapid prototyping over traditional process, but it does not means that traditional process is useless. It comes best into use when large number of productions need to be done. Traditional process has one major advantage, which is cost effective over the other.

3(A).What is Integrated Product Development (IPD)?

Integrated product development is the atep by step process, which acts like the simultaneous or concurrent engineering which inturn improves the quality of product.

It can also be defined as a process that integrates all the stages in a product development from concept formation to production using a multi-functional team or involving all members of different teams in all activities. Product design and product design must be integrated to get the best product out of it.

The key principles that has to be followed while implementing integrated product development are as follows,

  • Identify your target audience and their requirements.
  • Form a stratergy to integrate all the activities in the product development with the business functions.
  • Involve all teams in product development process as soon as the process starts.
  • Support parallel processing of activities in PDP.
  • Build relationship with the suppliers at the early stages of the development.
  • Capture data's using digital techniques to reduce time in design stages.
  • Simulate digital tests for products functionality to reduce cost.
  • Design process should be improved continuously.

    Thus the integrated product development if applied aggressively by an organisation then they can introduce successful new product with high quality, low cost and less  time to market.


3(B).What is the advantages of adopting IPD in the PDP?

By adopting integrated product development in PDP the organisation gets both direct and indirect advantages. They are as follows,

Direct advantages:

The direct advantages are the speed of production and lower cost.

Production speed:

Production time is greatly reduced by adopting IPD, it enables to collaborate external and internal factors on a common goal. Also the market leaders who adopted IPD has been able to reduce their production time up to 25%-40%.

Low cost:

IPD eliminates redundancy, by which lot of time and money is saved. So there is no need for wasting time and labour cost on a same work. By avoiding redundant works, up to 30% of the cost spent on labour is saved by most organisations. Also IPD saves time by sourcing some works to other companies, who are capable of doing the job in less time and money. Also IPD allows us to forecast the market accurately, so that lot of money can be saved from  material and labour costs.

Indirect advantages:

The indirect dis advantages are the product quality and innovative product.

Product quality:

IPD allows good integration between the suppliers, product development and sourcing, so that the production process is much controlled resulting in a good high quality product. IPD allows designers to work freely over the product and fix issues that arise after testing.

Innovative product:

IPD brings all the specialist in the team to work together. Each one can contribute to the teams through ideas which will be helpful during the PDP. So by working this way lot of ideas and information's can be collected. These additional information will be helpful for the designers to come up with innovative concepts.

These are the benefits by following IPD in a product deveoplemt process.


3(C).What are the challenges when adopting IPD in the PDP?

Implementation of IPD in the PDP has unique challenges, which is a great threat to the success of a product. Experts outlined seven barriers for implementing IPD.

They are as follows,

  • Trust
  • Leadership
  • Resistance
  • Resources
  • Contracting
  • Measurement
  • Understanding

These seven barriers can be best explained when we consider a case study of F-22 team. They faced and overcame all the barriers before implementing IPD.

Example: implementation of IPD in F-22 team

Trust- before starting the project, establishing trust between all the team members is the initial process. Trust is the basic criteria for all the process to start functioning.

Leadership- leadership was required at all levels for the process to function smoothly. Leaders were given power at lower levels so that decisions can be taken quickly. issues that occur during the design stages can be solved at the lowest level possible.

Resistance- resistance between the different teams can be resolved by applying tent five or rigorous team work and communication.

Resource commitment-  the resources like time, money and people were allocated before the IPD by analysing the requirements of IPD and also before the manufacturing and engineering phase.

Contract- the use of IPD was made compulsory by mentioning it in the statement of works, so that each contractor has to follow it.

Measurement and understanding- an organisation needs to understand how will an IPD function in a certain organisation. Also they should have some scale to measure their usage of IPD. In F-22 AFMC IPD guide was used as a scale at the beginning stages, later the team developed their own scale to measure and to improve the IPD implementation.


4(A). What is meant by “QFD”

Quality function deployment is a method of capturing customers voice and making it heard throughout the product development cycle. Qfd is a systematic process of gathering the user requirements and making it flow through out the supply chain process.


According to john QFD inserts quality into procudt. It transfers customer evaluation of product into the process for making it better. QFD implies many stratergy which will convert these feedbacks into valuable requirements, which is considered during the development phases. All the converted feedbacks are sent to all the departments to work over a single goal.


QFD has two main objectives, these objectives starts with the view point of customers and ends with the producers of the product. The two objectives are,

  1. Converting the product demand into quality charecteristics which can be used during the design stage of the product.
  2. To use the quality charecteristics during the production stages and creating a check points that has to be done before mass production starts.

QFD is often considered as a quality tool. But its neither a quality tool nor its associated with quality. It is a process that is used for planning a product or process or service.

Aspects of QFD process:

Requirements is collected from various sources which is used to form the first degree matrix. The house of quality tries to answer three basic questions like what the customer expects? , why it is important ?, and how it is going to be implified?.

Case study of Nippon carbon:

Nippon carbon was a manufacturer of carbon products, they were largely investing in the research and development for creating a new product. Before 1979, they were using test plan method but they could not actively control the quality in research and development. So later in the 1980's they introduced QFD to control their research and development. They have introduced a Question Answer system using quality function deployment that covers every aspect of the product development process.

4 (B).What is the purpose of DFM in the PDP?

Design for manufacturing directly relates to the manufacturing costs. DFM is one of the most common methodologies out of the DFX, where X stands for various quality criteria like the reliability, performance, manufacturability. DFM helps in addressing needs and requirements to design phase during the manufacturing phase.

Manufacturing cost of a product is determined by the products success in the market. A successful product is inturn how much profit each unit has generated by selling it. Product margin is determined by the difference between the manufacturing cost of a unit and selling price of a unit. Product  quality has a direct effect on the profit margin and the manufacturing cost. When the quality of product is good, more units can be sold, thus minimising the cost of producing. When an organisation is able to sell a quality product in low cost it will be an successful product. So to reduce manufacturing cost and to improve quality various standars are used, and one best thing is Design for manufacurability.

Design for manufacturablity forma as the base for a successful product. Other key factors that lies over the DFM are material selection, tooling project management, production process management and customer service.


According to Ulrich and eplinger there are five basic methodologies followed in DFM,

DFM methodologies:

  1. Estimation of manufacturing costs:

    Manufacturing costs are estimated by the amount of input given and the amount of waste gathered after the process.

  2. Reduce the cost of components:

    Most of the highly engineered products costs heavily due to the cost involved in the material or sub components used for the production.  Several stratergies are used to reduce these component cost, so that profit margin can be increased by reducing the cost of manufacturabilty.

  3. Reduce the assembly cost:

    Reducing the cost for assembly indirectly affects other costs involved. Though only a small fraction of cost is involved in assembly, by minimising it other benefits like avoiding complex parts, number of parts involved in assembly e.t.c.

  4. Reduce the support cost:

    Minimising the number of parts assembled or manufactured affects the inventory and inturn needs less supervision and human resources. So by avoiding excess production or over production unwanted support costs can be avoided.

  5. Impact of DFM decisions on other factors:

    How DFM decisions affect the other factors involved in manufacturing. DFM can affect the development time, development cost and quality of product.

    Success of a product not only depends on manufacturing costs involved, other factors like the product quality, time to introduce the product and cost of the product determines the success. So DFM not only focuses on reducing the manufacturing cost, it also has affects the other success factors like product quality.

4 (C).Why might feedback be important during the PDP?

All new products developed for the first time will have some mistakes in it. And if we don't get the feedback during the product development process, then these mistakes will keep repeating itself every time. If an organisation keeps valuating all the feedbacks they get from various sources and implementing them will have a better product than their competitor.

There are two types of feed back based on how it is gathered.

  1. Passive feedback:

    This kind of feedback comes from the people who are interested in the product and company. It does not cost anything to collect this type of feedback at the same time it is very difficult to find out where this feedback is from. Also the reliability of the source is unknown. Feedback might be from any group of users, country, e.t.c.

    Customers feedback nowadays does not reach the producers directly. As the products are distributed by intermediate distributers. So the feedback needs a separate channel to reach the producers. A feedback management is maintained to collect all the feedbacks.

  2. Active feedback:

    When a company does a product for a quiet long time and in some point if its sales drops reasonably. Then the company starts getting feedback on why the sales dropped. And tries to improve the area where they are lacking. This type of feedback is more of a survey research type.

    All the above mentioned feedbacks are collected after the product is released. But there are feedbacks during the product development stages from each departments, which is vital during the development stages.

    Feedbacks from manufacturing, sales and customers helps to iterate the design and alter according to the changes needed.


    Oracle case study:

    Oracle was developing applications which will help  to organise the business activities using web 2.0. So they decided to find the real world feedback for the use of web 2.0 application in day to day business. They conducted a survey among the users of web 2.0 and published a white paper. A team of analysts closely worked with the web 2.0 users and the applications they use. The customers while using the application gave feedback side by side, which was very helpful for the team of developers to know what the customers are lacking while using the applications. From the customer feedback oracle developed a solution for their problem and kept working on the further changes that comes form the real- world users.