NPD/ID vocabulary

Bill of materials (BOM): A table containing a list of the components and the quantity of each required to produce an assembly.

BriefInstructions and requests provided to design team prior to the commencement of a project. 

Business analysis: The practice of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems.

Commercialization: The process of introducing a new product or production method into the market.

Concept design: An early phase of design process, where the broad outlines of function and form are articulated.

ErgonomicsApplication of principles that consider the effective, safe and comfortable use of design by humans.

Ideation: Idea generation or brainstorming.

Industrial design: The process of designing products used by millions of consumers around the world.

Market research: An organized effort to gather information about target markets or consumers.

New product development (NPD): The complete process which involves transformation of a market opportunity or product idea into a product available for sale.

New Product Introduction (NPI): New product introduction is the complete process of bringing a new product to market.

Patent: An exclusive right granted to an inventor by a sovereign authority, for a specified time period.

Pilot Run: An initial small production run produced as a check, prior to commencing full-scale production. 

Prototyping: An early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or built to act as a commodity to be replicated or learned from.

SketchAn image that is quick to generate and does not contain complete detail.

S.W.O.TAnalysis framework for a company relative to its competitors, market, and industry: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats.

Test marketing: An experiment conducted by companies to check the viability in the target market before full scale manufacture.

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Outsourcing Product Development

Outsourcing development activities has become an essential component of any successful business strategy these days. As the global competitive market is gradually changing, product based companies are going against established norms following the trend of outsourcing activities. This article discusses about the logic behind outsourcing product development, elaborates on its benefits and discusses the other aspects to be considered when outsourcing product development.

What is Outsourced Product Development?

The outsourcing of specific activities or all activities related to the development and maintenance of a product is known as Outsourced Product Development.

Outsourcing enables product companies to get access into an untapped product-building expertise and global talent pools available with service providers. This helps in exchange of technology and varied work-process.

Why Outsource Product Development?

Every decision making panel of an organization stumbles upon a vital question—whether to develop a product in-house or outsource the same to a third-party expertise.

The product development market is becoming more competitive and mature. As the competition intensifies, product companies are under immense pressure to periodically release new versions in the market. Being an intensive activity, product development requires a lot of attention. The top management can’t afford to put all the emphasis on one activity, while overlooking the other phases of product development. It will end up affecting the profitability of the company.

When to outsource product development?

A typical product lifecycle involves the following activities: product development, product reengineering and migration, product maintenance, product implementation, and product testing. A product based company can choose to outsource one or more of these activities or it can outsource the entire string related to a particular product to a service providing firm.

The question, however remains as to when outsource an activity. There are several factors to be taken into account before outsourcing product development. It varies with company to company. Sometimes it is even seasonal and based on current marketing trends. Some factor can be summarised like this:

  1. One needs to understand the purpose of a product before outsourcing and weigh the importance of such product in the market. The biggest thing is, if you have an area of expertise where you really are the best in the world and if it’s the key to your business; that is something that needs to be kept inside. Surely, the success of a product doesn’t depend on R&D alone, as without marketing, sales, distribution, the success won’t move an inch. So the decision making panel need to sort out the area of expertise that the product company lacks.
  1. There are several products which are solely made by the parent company. But they might need enhancements to act as a catalyst to make it more user-friendly or well operable. This happens more often in software industry. You might have a software product of your own, or you might own a mechanical product but you need specific software designed to assist it in its operation. That is when you should consider outsourcing your product development activity. There are various companies out there that might specialise in this area and that might turn out to be your destination.
  1. One of the most, or maybe the most important factor in case of outsourcing product development is— availability of expertise. Sometimes this weighs in far more than other factors. There are some areas which needs specific expertise. Most firms are not entirely self-sufficient hence they have to look out for someone who can get the job done. For example, developing complex CAD roofing software would need people with CAD and mathematical software development expertise. With the advent of new generation automobiles, vehicle manufacturers outsource voice recognition feature to the OPD (Outsourced Product Development) partner who is an expert in such technology.
  1. Generally, some established companies have enough capabilities to run the entire product development lifecycle themselves. However, even these same organizations opt for outsourcing one or two activities to outside vendors. On the contrary, start-ups usually outsource a big chunk of their product development activity. This might be due to inadequate manpower, expertise, capital to afford means and various other reasons.
  1. Pertaining to the last point, besides lack of expertise, inadequate manpower also plays a role in outsourcing of product development. A company would rather outsource PD, to make up for manpower, rather than headhunting themselves. Time consumption, employment policy are few factors responsible for such decisions.
  1. Geography is another point to consider, if there are ongoing discussions about OPD. Last decade has seen big label organizations outsourcing various activities, including R&D, outsourcing their activities to locations like China, India and Eastern Europe. This has a lot to do with the low cost attached to it. Such nations provide manpower and particular expertise in affordable costs, thereby saving the organizations a huge expenditure. The low-cost geography has actually changed the dynamics of product development in such way, that big names have opened up their own R&D centres, sales and distribution office, factories etc in such locations due to lower cost factors.
Benefits of outsourcing product development

OPD has many benefits. A product owner need not worry about the outcome or excess expenditure if the activity is in right hands. Correct and well planned outsourcing saves a product company time, expenditure on systems and manpower, legal hassles. The best part is exchange of domain knowledge between the product company and the OPD, something that ensures better output in the future.

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Path to Product Development

If you are an engineering professional, most likely you are aware of how a physical product comes to life. From the early days of sketching and blueprints, manufacturing of a commodity has come a long way. The modern methodology of creating a product has not only changed drastically, but it has become way more efficient and precise in its approach. Today’s engineer lives and thrives in the world of 3-dimensional models. Whatever masterpiece a designer has in his mind, he has the tools and system to give it life. And it is not just limited to inception of a new idea being turned to a product; it has made the art of reverse engineering being implemented more than ever.

So what are the factors that have revolutionized this craft?

It is the safe to say that with the invention of new tools, techniques and computer, the road to new product development has become more smooth, accurate and flexible. Although a professional can get deep into the subject matter, this article gives a brief overview of the product development from technical perspective.

The footsteps to a new product can be summarized in the following sequence.

 

path to product developmentTo put it in words, here is how the entire sequence goes:

  • Scanning: Whether you have an entirely new idea on your mind, or you want to base your idea on an already existing product; you need a reference. Your reference can be either technical manuals from the manufacturer or the physical product itself. The first step is to scan the product using 3D scanners. 3D scanning technology comes in many shapes and forms. Scanners capture and store the 3D information of the product. The scanned information gets stored in the form of closely spaced data points known as Point Cloud.
  • Point Cloud: A point cloud is a collection of data points defined by a given coordinates system. In a 3D coordinates system, for example, a point cloud may define the shape of some real or created physical system.
  • Mesh: Point clouds are used to create 3D meshes. A mesh is a network that constitutes of cells and points. Mesh generation involves point clouds to be connected to each other by the virtue of vertices, edges and faces that meet at shared edges. There are specific softwares for carrying of meshing function.
  • 3D Model: Once the meshed part is generated, it goes through required software applications to be transferred to Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools to get transformed into a proper 3D CAD model. 3D model is the stage where whole sorts of applications such as sewing, stitching, etc, are implemented to create a prototype.
  • Testing: A prototype goes through numerous tests in this phase, to check for limitations and possible calibrations if necessary. This is done to determine the optimum stage where the prototype can be turned to a product.
  • Product: This is where the entire process comes to an end. Once a prototype is evaluated and finalized, it is sent for production in order to introduce it to the market.

 This introductory part gives you a summary of product development and the related technical terms. In the next chapters, we will dive deep and go through all the mentioned stages, one by one.

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Point Cloud Operations

No output is always perfect no matter how much the technology has evolved. Even though point cloud generation has eased up manufacturing process, it comes with its own anomaly. Generally, a point cloud data is accompanied by Noises and Outliers.

Noises or Noisy data means the data information is contaminated by unwanted information; such unwanted information contributes to the impurity of the data while the underlying information still dominates. A noisy point cloud data can be filtered and the noise can be absolutely discarded to produce a much refined result.

If we carefully examine the image below, it illustrates a point cloud data with noises. The surface area is usually filled with extra features which can be eliminated.

 

Point Cloud Before noise redeuction

 

After carrying out Noise Reduction process, the image below illustrates the outcome, which a lot smoother data without any unwanted elements. There are many algorithms and processes for noise reduction.

 

Point Cloud After noise reduction

 

Outlier, on the contrary, is a type of data which is not totally meaningless, but might turn out to be of interest. Outlier is a data value that differs considerably from the main set of data. It is mostly different from the existing group. Unlike noises, outliers are not removed outright but rather, it is put under analysis sometimes.

The images below clearly portray what outliers are and how the point cloud data looks like once the outliers are removed.

 

Point Cloud With outliers

 

Point Cloud Without outliers

 

Point Cloud Decimation

We have learned how a point cloud data obtained comes with noise and outliers and the methods to reduce them to make the data more executable for meshing. Point cloud data undergoes several operations to treat the anomalies existing within. Two of the commonly used operations are Point Cloud Decimation and Point Cloud Registration.

A point cloud data consists of millions of small points, sometimes even more than what is necessary. Decimation is the process of discarding points from the data to improve performance and reduce usage of disk. Decimate point cloud command reduces the size of point clouds.

The following example shows how a point cloud underwent decimation to reduce the excess points.

Point Cloud Before decimation

 

Point Cloud After decimation

 

Point Cloud Registration

Scanning a commodity is not a one step process. A lot of time, scanning needs to be done separately from different angles to get views. Each of the acquired data view is called a dataset. Every dataset obtained from different views needs to be aligned together into a single point cloud data model, so that subsequent processing steps can be applied. The process of aligning various 3D point cloud data views into a complete point cloud model is known as registration. The purpose is to find the relative positions and orientations of the separately acquired views, such that the intersecting regions between them overlap perfectly.

Take a look at the example given below. The car door data sets have been merged to get a complete model.

 

Point Cloud before registration

 

Point Cloud After registration

 

 

 

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Point Clouds

Whether working on a renovation project or making an information data about an as-built situation, it is understandable that the amount of time and energy spent on analysis of the object/project in hand can be quite debilitating. Technical literatures over the years, has come up with several methods to make a precise approach. But inarguably, the most prominent method is the application of Point Clouds.

3D scanners gather point measurements from real-world objects or photos for a point cloud that can be translated to a 3D mesh or CAD model.

But what is a Point Cloud?

A common definition of point clouds would be — A point cloud is a collection of data points defined by a given coordinates system. In a 3D coordinates system, for example, a point cloud may define the shape of some real or created physical system.

Point clouds are used to create 3D meshes and other models used in 3D modeling for various fields including medical imaging, architecture, 3D printing, manufacturing, 3D gaming and various virtual reality (VR) applications. A point is identified by three coordinates that, correlate to a precise point in space relative to a point of origin, when taken together.
Point CloudThere are numerous ways of scanning an object or an area, with the help of laser scanners which vary based on project requirement. However, to give a generic overview of point cloud generation process, let us go through the following steps:

  1. The generation of a point cloud, and thus the visualization of the data points, is an essential step in the creation of a 3D scan. Hence, 3D laser scanners are the tools for the task. While taking a scan, the laser scanner records a huge number of data points returned from the surfaces in the area being scanned.
  1. Import the point cloud that the scanner creates into the point cloud modeling software. The software enables visualizing and modeling point cloud, which transforms it into a pixelated, digital version of the project. 
  1. Export the point cloud from the software and import it into the CAD/BIM system, where the data points can converted to 3D objects.
Different 3D point cloud file formats

Scanning a space or an object and bringing it into designated software lets us to further manipulate the scans, stitch them together which can be exported to be converted into a 3D model. Now there are numerous file formats for 3D modeling. Different scanners yield raw data in different formats. One needs different processing software for such files and each & every software has its own exporting capabilities. Most software systems are designed to receive large number of file formats and have flexible export options. This section will walk you through some known and commonly used file formats. Securing the data in these common formats enables the usage of different software for processing without having to approach a third party converter.

Common point cloud file formats

OBJ: It is a simple data format that only represents 3D geometry, color and texture. And this format has been adopted by a wide range of 3D graphics applications. It is commonly ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange).

PLY: The full form of PLY is the polygon file format. PLY was built to store 3D data. It uses lists of nominally flat polygons to represent objects. The aim is to store a greater number of physical elements. This makes the file format capable of representing transparency, color, texture, coordinates and data confidence values. It is found in ASCII and binary versions.

PTS, PTX & XYZ: These three formats are quite common and are compatible with most BIM software. It conveys data in lines of text. They can be easily converted and manipulated.

PCG, RCS & RCP: These three formats were developed by Autodesk to specifically meet the demands of their software suite. RCS and RCP are relatively newer.

E57: E57 is a compact and widely used vendor-neutral file format and it can also be used to store images and data produced by laser scanners and other 3D imaging systems.

Challenges with point cloud data

The laser scanning procedure has catapulted the technology of product design to new heights. 3D data capturing system has come a long way and we can see where it’s headed. As more and more professionals and end users are using new devices, the scanner market is rising in a quick pace. But along with a positive market change, handling and controlling the data available becomes a key issue.

Five key challenges professionals working with point cloud face are:

  • Data Format: New devices out there in the market yields back data in a new form. Often, one needs to bring together data in different formats from different devices against a compatible software tool. This presents a not-so-easy situation
  • Data Size: With the advent of new devices, scanning has become cheaper with greater outputs. It is possible to scan huge assets from a single scan. This has resulted in the creation of tens of thousands of data points. A huge data of points can be challenging to handle and share between project partners.
  • Inter-operability: Integration between new technologies with the existing software can be quite arduous. Although, with careful investment of time and money, the goal can be achieved nonetheless.
  • Access: All the professionals involved in the entire lifecycle of a product can benefit from having access to point cloud data. But multiple datasets in multiple formats usually makes it more of a hassle.
  • Ownership: Who owns point cloud data? In the past, EPCs and the contractors who capture the data become custodians of the information.
  • Rendering: Different formats can result in rendering problems for point clouds.
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Product Tear Down Study

How do you determine procurement costs for product design, materials, and specifications? A superb way to get valuable insights and pinpoint design improvement and cost reduction opportunities is through a product teardown study. What is a product teardown?

In simple words, the process of disassembling a part to understand how it has been made and its functionalities are known as product teardown.

A product teardown process is an orderly way to know about a particular product and identify its parts, system functionality to recognize modeling improvement and identify cost reduction opportunities. Unlike the traditional costing method, tear down analysis collects information to determine product quality and price desired by the consumers. Companies can understand their competitor’s product, on what ground it differs from their own and manufacturing cost associated.

The three primary reasons for a product teardown study are:

  • Breakdown and Analysis:

It involves understanding the current technology, functionalities, and components of a product as well as identifying its strengths, weaknesses, and establishing areas for improvement.

  • Benchmarking:

Benchmarking is establishing a baseline in terms of understanding and representation of the product. It provides a comparison of new conceptual designs.

  • Knowledge and product improvement:

It involves gaining engineering knowledge to enact new room for concept development.

The entire product teardown process can be summed up in five steps:

  • Identifying the purpose of the teardown. This is to determine the models to be enacted as a result of the process
  • Creating data sheet where all insights will be listed
  • Gathering tools and documentation of the process
  • Analyzing the distribution of product
  • Disassembling of product, component measurement, and functionality assessment
  • Creating a bill of materials (BOM), models, and function flow diagram

The product tear down study technique has proven to be suitable to obtain crucial data about the manufacturing method, components, build-up model, functionality and strategies of competitors to find for improvement and coming up with a more refined version of a product.

Material Selection

Material selection stands out to be one of the most crucial aspects of engineering design as it determines the design reliability in terms of industrial and economic viewpoints. A great design needs appropriate material combinations, or else it will fail to be a profitable product. Engineers need to choose the best materials for the same, and there are several criteria they rely upon, such as property and its reaction to given conditions.  

Some important points to be included are:

  • Mechanical properties: A design needs to go through various manufacturing practices depending on the material. The primary goal is to prevent the failure of the product from a material viewpoint and ensure service fit. The materials are subject to stress, load, strength, and temperature variations.
  • Wear of materials: Most of the time, chances are that materials are contacting each other in a product. It can be seen in the case of gears. The selected materials should be able to withstand wear and tear.
  • Corrosion: This is a condition where the importance of material selection can be witnessed the most. It is evident in products open to the environment for an extended period. Materials like iron are highly prone to corrosion. So it is essential to make that the material is corrosion resistant and capable of being used for the product.
  • Manufacturing: Although the material is fit to be used for a product, it has to be appropriate for the manufacturing process. Improper machining can lead to a faulty product, and incorrect machining stems from an inability to put manufacturing functions of materials.
  • Cost: Cost is a crucial fact to consider while selecting materials. Certain metals are rare to obtain, considering their availability and lengthy refining process. Although the cost factor can be neglected when performance is given priority, overall associated costs should be considered nonetheless. There is a reason why plastics have massively replaced metals in the manufacturing process.  

 

 

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Reverse Engineering and outsourcing: Important points to focus on

As much feasible Reverse Engineering and its outsourcing sounds, there are specific steps to follow and factors to keep in mind. Few crucial points to discuss when outsourcing RE are as follows:

  • The objective of reverse engineering; as your provider needs to know your goals to suggest a rather cost-effective solution
  • Whether reverse engineering has to be for design intent or as-built which, yet again, depends solely on the organizations end goal
  • What kind of measurement data should be approached and to what extent the accuracy of measurement should be implemented, depending on organizational planning,
  • For obtaining the most accurate measurements, the original object is often disassembled or even destroyed. Whether to go ahead with such a step or keep the original product intact for future reference is something an organization should carefully decide on
  • What tools to be used for digitizing the final date, like desired software with its version to suit the complete development ecosystem

Once the decision to outsource the reverse engineering process has been finalized, the next important step to consider is, choosing a vendor. Responsive and efficient vendors make all the difference. Finding a professional vendor with a high level of efficiency and even heightened work ethic is a complex but satisfying process. Be aware that once you are engaged with a vendor, it becomes little difficult to break the deal and discontinue ‘business’ with the existing vendor. So choose carefully but commit completely after the contract.

When a vendor has been finalized, organization issues a request for quotation (RFQ). RFQs are created to invite suppliers to a bidding process to bid on specific services/products. The organization should also take a legal approach and have the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) signed by the service provider. This is done to prevent unlawful, authorized distribution or illicit adoption of the product.

Now that the legal approach has been taken and paperwork has been taken care of, the organization sends the physical product to the service provider or the scanned files of the same; which solely depends on company needs. The vendor is also supplied with measurement specifications and related industry standards to follow. Eventually, the vendor creates digital CAD formatting required software and sends them back to the organization for further investigations on design modification or innovation.

For manufacturers, reverse engineering is a profitable strategy in today’s competitive scenario; however, outsourcing it brings along the other benefits as well that ensures product development process remains cost-effective.

outsourcing vendor

 

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Reverse Engineering: Outsourcing and beyond

We all know reverse engineering is an economical approach towards product development & innovation which is often utilized by manufacturers to evaluate and redesign competitor products. The method requires understanding the product design, system integrity and the manufacturing processes involved to realize the potential required to build a similar or an improved version of the product. The reverse engineering technique is best suitable for producing design data and related technical manuals for products that no longer have any design information available.

outsourcing
The entire work-process involves engineers studying every single design feature, associated manufacturing processes and tools needed for product development and storing information using CAD tools. After digitizing the entire information, suitable design modifications are carried out as per requirements.
However, to get things right one should have an efficient and dedicated engineering team, right software and hardware tools, etc. which seems difficult to have within the organization always.

Here comes the advantage of outsourcing reverse engineering projects where the activities can greatly reduce the cost of product development and burden on the engineers who can, then, put full emphasis on developing innovative design solutions for the product.

If one still questions outsourcing, some of the important benefits to outsourcing reverse engineering projects are mentioned below.

  • Outsourcing can bring in a global pool of talent with the myriad of innovative ideas that can assist in product design and development without investing in infrastructure and resources.
  • As the in-house resource can focus on R&D, it greatly helps in improving the productivity of an organization.
  • Product development time reduces considerably.
  • Hiring an outsourcing partner who matches requirement scale greatly enhances the organization’s capability.
  • RE outsourcing presents a scope to develop the product at a competitive price since the development cost is considerably less.

 

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The New Product Development Process

You might be a seasoned design professional thinking “What do my bosses sit around and do all day while I do the real design work".

This section outlines and explores the various early stages of the industrial design process that a product goes through. It does serve as a reasonable account of the overall and general product design process.

  • Ideating or initial ideas

Before any design work can begin on a product, there must first be a definition of what the product or product line might be. The idea’s genesis can be many factors such as:

Consumer demand – Reviews & feedbacks from the customers or even their ideas can help companies generate new product ideas.

Internal sources – Companies provide incentives and perks to employees who come up with new product ideas

Market research – Companies constantly review the changing needs, requirements and trends of the market by conducting plethora of market research analysis.

Competition – Competitors SWOT analysis helps companies to generate ideas.

  • Idea screening

An idea can be excellent, good, moderate or very bad. Once a suitable product opportunity has been identified, a specification document or design brief is created to define the product. It is usually created by the higher management of a company who’ll have access to information, such as budgeting and buyer/seller feedback. This step involves filtering out the good and feasible ideas which maintains the technical integrity while staying within realistic cost expectations.

Features such as a mechanical specification or a reference to an existing invention the product might be based upon, are outlined. Expectations, uses, and underlying intelligence associated to the product are included as well. Electronics, including sounds, lights, sensors, and any other specific inputs, such as colors and new materials may also be mentioned. Finally, a few reference sketches or photo images can be added to convey a possible direction.

  • Concept design & development

All ideas that pass through the screening stage are turned into concepts for testing purpose. A concept is a detailed strategy or blueprint version of the idea. In most companies, designers work up a design brief or product specification that guides their designs. It’s the designer’s role to make these ideas a reality. A professional designer has the ability to provide a large variety of designs in a quick and efficient manner. Many people can draw one or two ideas, but when asked to elaborate they often fall short. What separates the true design professional is depth and breadth of their presented ideas and vision in a clear and concise manner. Concept design generally means the use of hand-drawn or digital sketches to convey what’s in a designer’s mind onto paper or a screen.

  • Business analysis

A detailed business analysis is required to determine the feasibility of the product. This stage determines whether the product is commercially profitable or not, whether it will have a regular or seasonal demand and the possibilities of it being in the market for the long run.

  • Modeling

With the help of 3D modeling software (CAD – Computer Aided Design), the ideas/concept is rendered a shape, thereby creating a 3D model. The technical and engineering team has the biggest workload during this phase. These 3D models will often show up problematic areas where the theoretical stresses and strains on the product to be developed will be exposed. If any problem persists, it is a best phase of product development to handle the design errors and come up with modifications to address the same.

  • Prototyping & pilot runs (preliminary design stage)

In this stage, prototypes are built and tested after several iterations and pilot run of the manufacturing process is conducted. This stage involves creating rapid prototypes for a concept that has been deemed to have business relevance and value. Prototype means a ‘quick and dirty’ model rather than a refined one that will be tested and marketed later on. Adjustments are carried out as required before finalizing the design.

  • Test marketing

Apart from continuously testing the product for performance, market testing is also carried out to check the acceptability of the product in the defined market and customer group. It is usually performed by introducing the new product on a very small scale, to check if there are any shortcomings. This helps to know in advance, whether customer will accept and buy this product on launching in the market. Test marketing is a powerful tool indeed.

  • New product launch

This is the final stage in which the product is introduced to the target market. Production starts at a relatively low level of volume as the company develops confidence in its abilities to execute production consistently and marketing abilities to sell the product. Product manufacturing expenses depend on the density of the product, if there are numerous parts, material selection etc. The organization must equip its sales and customer service entities to address and handle queries. Product advertisements, website pages, press releases, and e-mail communications are kept on standby on the launching day.

Product development is an ever evolving fluid process and cannot be summed up in a few steps. The entire procedure sees insertion of additional stages or even eviction of a crucial part, depending on the nature of the project. Each group of professionals, whether designers, engineers or marketing, sales; has their role to play in this methodology. It is the company’s responsibility to continuously monitor the performance of the new product.

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Value Engineering

During the lifecycle of a particular product, companies tend to review the existing design to look out for ways to reduce production cost. Even when coming up with a new product, so many manufacturers go for analyzing the same during its design phase so that it requires an optimum level of cost to produce. This is where Value Engineering comes in.

Value engineering is an organized method to improve the “value” of a product or service in the lowest of cost.

VE is a systematic approach aimed at obtaining the necessary functions in a product, process, or system at the minimum overall cost, thereby maintaining the quality, reliability, performance, and safety. It provides the substitution of materials and methods with less expensive alternatives, without jeopardizing the functionality. It is emphasized totally on the functions of various components and materials, rather than their physical characteristics. Value engineering is also called value analysis.

It was Lawrence Miles who came up with the concept of finding substitute materials for parts unavailable.  It was found that substitutions not only reduced cost but aided in a better-finished product. It was this new technique that evolved into value engineering today.

The value in VE means two components:

  • Function: The measure of performance abilities
  • Cost: The resources needed to achieve the function

The function of a product is the specific task it was designed to perform, and the cost refers to the cost of the item during its life cycle. The ratio of function to cost denotes that the value of a product can be increased by either improving its function or decreasing its cost. In value engineering, the cost related to production, design, maintenance, and replacement are included in the analysis.

If we take an example of a new tech product which is being designed and is slated to have a life cycle of only two years; the product will be designed with the least expensive materials and resources that will live up to the end of the product’s lifecycle, saving the manufacturer and the end-user money. This is how product value is improved by reducing costs. It is evident that with the increase in function value and decrease in price, the overall product value increases. 

Stages of Value Engineering

There are three main stages to value engineering, which are:

  • Planning: Gathering product information, and understanding its primary goals, identifying the functionality of the product.
  • Design: Designing alternative ways to incorporate in the product which enhances the value rather than affecting its function and quality
  • Methodology: Reduce the action list as much as possible. Developing alternatives to feasible plans. Allocation of costs.
Benefits of Value Engineering

Value engineering helps an organization in numerous ways:

  • Lowering O&M costs
  • Improving quality management
  • Improving resource efficiency
  • Simplifying procedures
  • Minimizing paperwork
  • Reducing staff costs
  • Increasing procedural efficiency
  • Optimizing construction expenditures
  • Developing value attitudes in staff
  • Competing more successfully in the marketplace 

Value engineering concepts apply to business as well as technical situations and consequently lead management to informed, result-oriented decisions. Value engineering has to be treated as a future investment for gaining technology leadership in the industry.

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