Chapter 3: Product Design and Process Selection
Answers to Assigned Discussion Questions in Textbook
Define product design and explain its relationship to business strategy.
Product design is the process of determining all the features and characteristics of a product or service. The design of the product or service must match the business strategy in order for the company to be successful. For example, if we create a product with numerous features, it would probably be more expensive to produce. This would not help us if our goal is to provide a low cost product.
What are the differences between product and service design?
Recall that the key differences between manufacturing and service is the fact that manufacturing creates a tangible product, while services typically do not, and that services involve the customer. Service design is more complicated because we must not only design the service itself, but also the entire service concept.
Explain the meanings of benchmarking and reverse engineering.
Benchmarking involves the usage of information gathered from world class companies in order to improve your company’s performance. Reverse engineering is the study of an actual product by disassembling it to determine how it was created.
Explain the meaning of design for manufacture (DFM) and give some examples.
DFM is a set of guidelines for ensuring that a product is easy to produce profitably. DFM involves reducing the number of parts in a product and the use of common and interchangeable parts.
Describe the stages of the product life cycle. What are the demand characteristics at each stage?
The four stages of the product life cycle are introduction, growth, maturity and decline. Introduction is the stage where the product is introduced to the market and starts to sell. The demand is slowly growing in this stage. Growth is the stage where demand takes off. Maturity is the stage when the demand has peaked and started to level off. The last stage of decline occurs when another product replaces the current product. During this stage, demand declines.
Explain the term concurrent engineering. Why is it important?
Concurrent engineering is a team-based approach to product design. The team of people from different areas works concurrently on the design. It is important because this ensures that we don’t have problems taking the product from engineering to production since production can help ensure an easy transition if they are involved in the design, thus making the product easier to manufacture. The old approach of separate departments working with the design at different times was costly and inefficient. Concurrent engineering has resulted in a shorter development time with better quality.
Identify the two general types of operations. What are their characteristics?
The two general types of processes are intermittent operations and continuous operations. Intermittent operations produce a variety of products in smaller quantities. Since a variety of products are produced, a variety of flows through the process exist. Intermittent operations tend to be labor intensive. Continuous operations produce few products in larger quantities. Resources are organized into a line flow in continuous operations. Since we are producing few products in large quantities, we can and do invest a lot of money in equipment.
What is meant by the term vertical integration? What types of companies are more likely to become vertically integrated?
Vertical integration refers to the number of supply chain decisions that are made within a company. For example, a company that manufactures wood furniture could also own the land that supplies the trees that are then cut down and processed by the plant. This is an example of backward integration. For forward integration, the same company would then sell directly to the final customer who uses the...
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