The product design and engineering process is first and foremost a business process. The design work and engineering work are critical, but more than anything else, they are steps.
Steps that lead you to deliver a product that meets your ideal customer’s needs with precision.
That’s why when you are developing your product, it’s helpful to go a step further than to just “keep your ideal customer in mind”.
In the same way you may partner with a product engineering firm to prepare for manufacturing, we’ve seen a measure of success added when you loop your ideal customer into the design process.
Aligning Product Design with End Users
As a Design for Manufacturing firm, we know full well that factors like improving development speed, lowering production costs, and navigating manufacturing are essentials to a profitable product.
That being said, we also have seen what happens when companies prioritize production efficiency over the ability to delight the end user. To deliver performance that organically drives the growth and awareness of a product.
The question is how. How do we maximize our alignment with end users without slowing down the to-market process in a detrimental way?
Integrating User Feedback During Design and Engineering
We recently talked to Fernando Albertorio on our podcast, and he shared with us their design approach for products developed for vision-impaired users. As their end user has highly specialized needs, their insight is best leveraged during design and engineering rather than after delivery.
To accomplish this, they’ve integrated real user feedback into their design processes. It creates opportunities for blind and low vision people to interact with their product and maximize the product’s value before the critical manufacturing steps.
Successful product-driven companies know that the secret to sustaining profitable success lies in processes, and we’ve seen including these real-life interactions reveal important details and functions that a design team may not have realized.
If you’re looking at the long term success of a product, making feedback a part of your process before manufacturing becomes an increasingly important part of your processes.
The Design for Manufacturing Mindset
At Creative Mechanisms, we filter every step of the design and engineering process through the Design for Manufacturing philosophy. At its core, it’s placing a priority on anticipating weaknesses and strengths before the manufacturing step, due to its cost and inflexibility.
In the minds of most product engineers, this philosophy focuses practically on efforts like reducing parts counts, identifying the best materials for performance and manufacturing costs.
While those focuses are the responsibility of a designer or an engineer, those who are in charge of the business aspect of product development are responsible for making sure product design is aligned with the end user before manufacturing.
Someone in a role like a project manager or VP who’s over a product’s development is keeping their eye on the money, and ensuring your process includes pre-manufacturing feedback is a crucial part.
A New Resource For Decision Makers
It can be easy to get stuck in the weeds - the nuts and bolts of engineering questions - and lose sight of the finish line.
As leaders, it's invaluable to have accountability to help us keep our eyes on the business outcomes.
At Creative Mechanisms, CEO Tony Rogers has created a new resource crafted specifically for those who are accountable to those final outcomes.
Click the image below to download your copy of "Making Product Design Predictable and Profitable".