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APICS Operations Management Body of Knowledge Framework, Third Edition

2.5 Product and service design

Product and service design refers to the entire process of engineering a potential future product or service, including its form, fit, and function.

2.5.1 Life cycle planning

Life cycle planning is the concept and practice in firms providing goods and services to plan strategically for the phases of a product’s or service’s life. After several research and development-related stages, including product conceptualization and technical demonstration, operations is concerned with these stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.

Introduction is the initial launch of the new good or service. Growth is the increase in customer base as the item gains acceptance and typically is where the break-even point is reached. Maturity is the stabilization of volume and increased competition, often resulting in the need for lowering costs and price. Decline is the drop and eventual end of sales as the good or service is no longer in demand. Each stage requires a strategic alignment of the firm’s resources to support the marketing and delivery of the product or service.

2.5.2 Design for manufacturing/assembly

Sometimes referred to as design for manufacturability, this is the practice of designing products—including the setting of tolerances and the specification of materials—in such a manner to streamline the processes and equipment required. The goal typically is to create a product design that meets all of the customer’s requirements and is the least costly to manufacture.

Component commonality. This is the practice of using the same components in various end items to simplify the design process, contain costs, simplify the procurement of common components, and reduce variability in the storage of the components and the manufacture of the end item.

Modularity and robustness. Modularity is related to component commonality in that a standard or common module is used to complete a variety of end items with the goals of cost containment and simplification. Modularity can increase flexibility with respect to the firm’s ability to offer customized end items. Conversely, the use of modular construction can have a limiting effect on the total range of customization that can be offered. Robustness is the ability of a design or service to withstand external detrimental forces and still deliver the desired functionality, or to deviate from the desired functionality only minimally. For example, many products are designed to accept minor variations in electrical current; however, computers and other sensitive equipment often require a surge protector.

Global standardization. These are practices by firms who have a global strategy to standardize products, components, practices, and service offerings. Such standardization takes the form of designing and altering products, parts, processes, and procedures to establish and use standard specifications and reduce the total numbers of parts and materials used and products, models, or grades produced.

2.5.3 Concurrent engineering

This is the practice of simultaneously involving all relevant fields and departments like marketing, research and development, product and process design, manufacturing, distribution, and field service in the entirety of new product design and introduction with the goal of reducing time to market. This often is accomplished by cross-functional teams made up of individuals representing the different functions that are involved throughout the entire design process and may extend beyond organizational boundaries to include supply chain partners in the design phase. The opposite practice is sequential engineering.

2.5.4 Computer-aided design (CAD)/computer-aided manufacturing 

(CAM) CAD and CAM are technologies used by designers and manufacturing engineers. CAD is used for product design and CAM is used for manufacturing process design. Both are computer drawing boards able to calculate strengths and capacity factors, predict stress points, predict mean time between failures, and offer other faster functions that previously required significant time.

2.5.5 Basic process types 

The processes used for producing a good or service need to match the volume and flexibility needed. Basic process types include job shops or work centers, work cells, assembly lines, and continuous flow processes.

2.5.6 Group technology 

This is the process of categorizing design shapes and processes to streamline the production and design process. Group technology is an important part of data organization and is used as a background management system within CAD. It also can provide a basis for the design of manufacturing cells.

2.5.7 Quality function deployment (QFD) 

QFD is a methodology that shows relationships and dependencies on quality areas, product capabilities, and product qualities as understood from the voice of the customer. The complexity of achieving each specific characteristic is also considered. The house of quality (HOQ) is normally used for the management of QFD. The HOQ is a multistage, structured process that relates customer-defined attributes to the product’s technical features, to the necessary parts and components, to the processes used to build those parts and components, and ultimately to a control process that monitors and assures the process is performing to specification.

2.5.8 Sustainability

See section 2.3.

2.5.9 Design for logistics

See section 3.6.

2.5.10 Reverse logistics

See section 2.3.8.