Design is the craft of visualising concrete solutions that serve human needs and goals within certain constraints. (Goodwin, Kim. 2009). Human engineering combined with product and business knowledge to generate ideas and concepts and convert them into physical and usable objects or services is called as product or service design. A designer should be creative and have analytical ability to create a user friendly, efficient and good looking product or service. The product must be good in design, value function and appearance. (“Importance of product design”, www.cirinodesign.com)
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Earning profit through satisfaction of the customers is the main target of the organisation. This is only possible if the product or service is designed well. Good design communicates the purpose of the product or service to its market and helps business to earn profit. We can say that the main objective of a good design is to satisfy customers by meeting their actual or anticipated needs and expectations. A good design of the product or service is only successful when it is delivered on time and cost is reasonable. Design helps business connect strongly with their customers by anticipating their real needs. As a result it enhances profitability to the business. (Slack, N. et al. 2010)
When Issigonis designed the Morris Minor, he was unaware of its vulnerability and the design was not fully successful. It was a heavy vehicle for its overall size, slow and poor at cornering. The Mini, by contrast was capable of very fast cornering and low weight. John Cooper, fitted large engines in the Mini and created the Mini Cooper and Cooper ‘S’ which, driven by Paddy Hopkirk among others, were hugely successful in rally sport. The model went on to win a total of 153 rallies in (1962) that year alone. This example shows the importance of the product or service design. (“Mini Cooper ‘S’ rally success, www.suite101.com)
3.1 Stages of Product or Service Design
As we can see that there are five stages of product or service design in figure 3.1 below. The designers should pass through those sequences of stages to get a final design of a product or service. But in practice, designers may sometime recycle or backtrack through the stages.
Figure 3.1 The stages of product or service design (Slack, N. et al., 2010)
First comes concept generation stage, which is the main root of the whole process. It is the development stage of the concept which is later screened to try to ensure whether it is feasible, acceptable and its vulnerability. Then concept is turned to preliminary design and goes through evaluation and improvement to see if the concept can be served better cheaply and easily. Then the concept is subject to prototyping and final design.
Generally, in some organisation concept is generated form the research and development (R&D) department. As its name states, research develop new knowledge and idea to grasp any opportunity or to solve any problem. And development is the attempt to try to utilize and operationalise the idea that come form research.
Ideas for new product or service concept can come form customers, competitors and staffs as well. Regular customer who gives feedback and complains gives us an idea about how to improve the product and service. Staff who meet the customers day to day knows what their customers want which may be helpful to generate new idea.
The main purpose of this stage is to take the flow of concepts and evaluate them because not every concept generated will necessarily be capable of further development into product and services. Best design is chosen among the several designs by evaluation of their value. From large number of design concepts only one design is selected form the evaluation screens. We have to think in terms of the following design criteria:
Feasibility: the ability of an operation to produce a process, product or service.
Acceptability: the attractiveness to the operation of a process, product or service.
Vulnerability: the risk taken by the operation in adopting a process, product or service.
This is a stage after generating an acceptable, feasible and viable product or service concept, where first attempt of specifying the component products and services in the package and defining the process to create the package is done.
Specify the components of the package
Exactly what will go into the product or service will be defined in this stage. The order in which the component parts of the package have to be put together should be known earlier. Information of the constituent component parts of the product should be collected and the bill of materials (BOM), which is the quantities of each component part required to make the package should also prepared. For example, rifle shooting in adventure holiday, activities can be broken down into level one shooting practice and level two target shooting. Also the components for the rifle shooting (like a 22 air rifle, some shot, a back board, a target holder and card targets) are defined and bill of materials includes the quantity of those components. (Pycraft, M. 2000)
Reducing design complexity
When an organisation produces variety of goods and services with several ranges on those goods and services as a whole, it becomes complex and may increase costs. Designers as well as the producers want simplicity in their product and services. Designers adopt several approaches to reduce complexity in the design of the product and service. The three common approaches for the complexity reduction are:
Standardisation: This is all about variety reduction of the product or services. For example, garment manufactures produce cloths in only a limited numbers of sizes.
Commonality: This helps simplifying design complexity by using common elements within a product or service.
Modularisation: Designing standardised ‘sub-components’ of a product or service which can be assembled in different ways is the main principle of modular design. For example, a package holiday industry can assemble holidays to meet a specific customer requirement. (Slack, N. et al., 2010)
Define the process to create the package
The bill of materials and the product or service structure specify what has to be put together and this stage is to specify how the process will put together the various components to create the final product or service. We show the flow of materials or people through the operation and identify the different activities that take place during the process. Simple flow charts, routing sheets and process flow charts help us examine the process before any product or service design is finalised. (Pycraft, M. 2000)
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Design evaluation and improvement:
In this stage preliminary design can be improved before the product or service is tested in the market. In other words, it involves re-examining the design to see if it can be done in a better way, more cheaply or more easily. Typical techniques that can be used in this stage to evaluate and improve the preliminary design are:
Quality function deployment (ensures that the eventual design of a product or service actually meets the needs of its customers)
Value engineering (try reducing costs, and prevent any unnecessary costs, before producing the product or service)
Taguchi methods (tests the robustness of a design i.e. it assumes that the product and service should still perform in extreme conditions.)
Prototyping and final design:
This stage involves providing the final details which allow the product and service to be produced. It is risky to go to full production of the product or service before testing it out. So it is appropriate to turn the improved design into a prototype so that it can be tested. Many retailing organisations pilot new products or services in a small number of stores in order to test customers’ reaction to them. A fully developed design for the package of products and services are then finalised and delivered them to customers. (Pycraft, M. 2000)
4.0 Basic Layout Types
The layout of an operation or process means, how its transformed resources (raw materials and components that can be transformed into end products) are positioned relative to each other and how its various tasks are allocated to these transforming resources (building, machinery and people). (Slack, N. et al. 2010)
According to Slack 2010, most practical layouts are derived from only four basic layout types. They are:
In fixed-position layout, transformed resources do not move between the transforming resources. In this layout the product or recipient of the service is too large to be moved conveniently, it might be too delicate to move. The main product being produced is fixed at a particular location. Resources, such as equipment, labour and material are brought to that fixed location. For example, building a ship – the product is too large to move.
Figure 4.1 Fixed-position layout (www.transtutors.com)
Functional layout can also be called as process layout. In this layout types similar operations or machines are located as per their functions or processes. This is because it is convenient to group them together, or that the utilisation of transforming resources is improved. For example, all lathes are kept in one location and drilling and milling work are done in other location. Greater flexibility and scope of expansion exist in this layout.
Figure 4.2 Functional layout (www.transtutors.com)
Cellular layout can also be called as group layout because in this layout machines are grouped according to the process requirements for a set of similar items (part families) that require similar processing. Processes are grouped into cell using a technique known as group technology (GT). Group technology involves identifying parts with similar design characteristics (shape, size and function) and similar process characteristics. This type of layout is an attempt to reduce the complexity of process layouts. (“Layout”, www.referenceforbusiness.com)
Figure 4.3 Group technology or cellular layout (www.transtutors.com)
For example, in the figure 4.3 lathe, mining and drilling work is done in cell 1 and 3 and lathe, mining, grinding and assembly is done in cell 2. This shows parts, which are similar in design or manufacturing operations are grouped into one cell or one family.
Product layout can also be called as line layout. In this layout, machine and operating facilities are located as per the sequence of operation on parts. In other words, transforming resources located as per the convenience of the transformed resources. The transformed resources flow as in a line through the process. This type of layout is preferred when production volume is high, demand is stable, part variety is less and the production is continuous.
Figure 4.4 Product layout (www.transtutors.com)
For example, in the figure 4.4 product A require same sequence of process i.e. lathe, mining, lathe, drilling and grinding.
These are the basic layout types used in any operations management. Some operations can also design hybrid layouts which combine elements of some or all of the basic layout types in different parts of the operation. This type of layout called as mixed layouts.
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