Design for ...


[NASA Logo] Although the focus of Womack, Jones, and Roos (1991) is on lean production, it's scope is far greater. In the historical introduction, they point out that Henry Ford introduced many features which gave the Model T the competitive advantage. He designed the product so that it was easy to drive by virtually anyone. He designed the product to be repairable by any farmer with tools readily available. He designed the parts of the product to be interchangeable and easy to attach to other parts. He designed the interchangeable worker within the production system. He designed the moveable production line. The combination of these subdesigns led to the supradesign of mass production, for which he is known. The salient point here is that, in order to capture the competitive advantage, he designed for many different characteristics. Henry Ford designed for ... .

Whitney et. al. (1988) note that "A product must satisfy many objectives: function as perceived by the consumer; ease of assembly; maintainability; testability; safety; disposability; and many others. These are the ...'s in "design for ... ." In best design practice, all are considered at the earliest stages of design as well as continuously throughout the design process."

In order to design for competitive advantage we must design for the above attributes and more. Sheldon, Huang, and Perks (1991) note that "The three elements of competitiveness are: (1) timeliness: Can the product be delivered to the market Just in Time that it is demanded by customers? (2) quality: Will the product work well as intended? (3) affordability: Do customers wish to buy the product." These three dimensions largely determine the value of a product to the customer. To gain the competitive advantage we must

Design for Value (choice).

From the perspective that each person must design so that those to follow in the process can do their best, we must also:

Design for Conceptualizability
Design for Evaluability
Design for Marketability
Design for Designability
Design for Prototypeability
Design for Testability
Design for Producibility
Design for Deployability
Design for Operability
Design for Supportability
Design for Evolvability
Design for Retireability
Design for Manageability

Note that for each of the above, both the product and the process must be considered.

De Andrade (1991) summarizes the above by stating that

besides the customers and the company, consideration must be made to all people or organizations who, in some way, will be affected by the product or by the activities of the life cycle. ... The major purpose of the process of design is to devise products to fulfill that whole set of needs in the most satisfactory way.

Along that thread of thought Davis, LeCesne, and Adriano (1993) propose a designer's creed as follows:

I will do my best to design the most reliable hardware to fill the requirement at the lowest feasible cost. I will be mindful as I design that someone must procure it, produce it, test it, install it, activate it, operate it, service it, maintain it, remove it, repair it, overhaul it, and replace it. I will use my design expertise to make their tasks as easy and as economical as possible, by giving as much thought to the care and feeding of my hardware as I give to the reason for it's existence. I realize that someday even my hardware will fail and require repair and/or replacement. Therefore, I will make its' condition easy to monitor and will make it accessible for service, maintenance, removal and replacement. Further, I will cheerfully respond to requests for assistance or improvement from those who operate and maintain my hardware, for it is mine and I must help sustain it as long as it is useful.
By changing the word "hardware" above to "system," the creed seems to be an excellent start toward a general basis for designing for ... .

Bralla (1996) provides the most comprehensive coverage of design for ... to date.

There are many other things we need to design for, such as safety, the environment, the good of society, ... . Current thinking is that these are really a component of designing for quality. Thus, current plans are to integrate these under design for quality. However, attempts to do this will have to wait until some unspecified future date.

The challenge of the future lies in addressing how to design for these quality elements!






Design for Value | Design for Quality | Use