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Why the design phase of product development is important to business strategy

Posted by Geoff Haines on 31-Mar-2016 16:30:00
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Design and Business StrategyDesigners have one of the best jobs in the world. It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s challenging. Yet, it’s also an extremely important element in the production process, which can put designers under a lot of pressure. 

The design phase of product or part development has quickly become essential to an organisation’s strategy. The effectiveness and efficiency of the design phase can have a significant impact on processes such as manufacturing that occur downstream in the product development process.

As an essential part of the production process, there are a few ways that design fits into an organisation’s strategy.

Customer-driven design

One of the major drivers of product development is market requirements. This doesn’t just mean reacting to what competitors are doing, but designing products based on the demands of the customer. This means a customer-driven design approach is often incorporated into an organisation’s strategy.

The consequences of not taking a customer-driven design approach include having to make modifications to your product following poor feedback from the customer. If a part doesn’t use the right materials i.e. composites, or lacks the complexity required by the customer, then it’s going to cost you.

Not only would you have to invest even more money into product development, but more time and energy has to go into making the changes and a whole batch of new parts needs to be produced– this clearly isn’t an efficient use of resources.

Essentially, customer-driven design enables an organisation to improve the efficiency of their production and gain a competitive advantage by producing exactly what the customer wants. Effectively, do it right the first time.

Product Lifecycle Management

The need to research, create ideas, discuss with stakeholders, create and modify models before presenting a finished solution is an essential in businesses. This planning sets the tone for processes occurring downstream in the product development process and enables these functions to work together.

This is where Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is vital. The centralised management of data and integration of technology across the disciplines involved in product development is significant to gaining a competitive advantage is today’s market. 

PLM enables companies to enjoy a host of benefits, including an improved time to market, greater productivity, better product quality and fewer errors.

When we consider the design element of PLM, we often refer to CAD file management. This is important as the efficient management of design data across departments enables organisations to improve the efficiency of the overall product development process. For example, it enables any design modifications to be made quickly and early on in the process, ensuring the manufacturing of parts doesn’t get compromised and a shorter time to market can be achieved. 

Ultimately, design is an integral part of not only product development, but the overall business strategy. 

Efficiency in design and production with CATIA 3D Master

Achieving efficiency in the design of parts can enable organisations to boost the efficiency of the entire production process. 

One way organisations can achieve this is through the CATIA 3D Master approach. This enables organisations to improve their designing process by using 3D information to share, annotate and improve drawings across departments in the company. 

One of the benefits of this approach includes the ability to re-use product definitions, including tolerance and annotations and parts lists, in future versions of a part/product. For example, an automobile manufacturer used the CATIA 3D Master approach for their body-in-white production for a number of years. The ability to copy functional tolerancing and annotations from an existing part to a new variant meant that 70% of the product definition could be created with almost no effort. This helps to reduce the time to market of new parts. 

Ultimately, the CATIA 3D Master approach enables organisations to achieve efficiency in production and boost time to market.

Overall, the design process is one of the most important elements in the production of parts. Ensuring this process is well optimised may be the key to unlocking greater efficiencies in other areas of the production process, including manufacturing.

To learn how you can improve your design process through the CATIA 3D Master approach, download the whitepaper now.

3D Master Whitepaper

Topics: Automotive - CATIA