Certain steps are common to the development of most product designs: idea generation, product screening, preliminary design and testing, and final design. These steps are shown in Figure 3-1. Notice that the arrows show a circular process. Product designs are never finished, but are always updated with new ideas. Let's look at these steps in more detail.
All product designs begin with an idea. The idea might come from a product manager who spends time with customers and has a sense of what customers want, from an engineer with a flare for inventions, or from anyone else in the company. To remain competitive, companies must be innovative and bring out new products regularly. In some industries, the cycle of new product development is predictable. We see this in the auto industry, where new car models come out every year, or the retail industry, where new fashion is designed for every season.
In other industries, new product releases are less predictable but just as important. The Body Shop, retailer of plant-based skin care products, periodically comes up with new ideas for its product lines. The timing often has to do with the market for a product and whether sales are declining or continuing to grow.
Ideas from Customers, Competitors, and Suppliers The first source of ideas is customers, the driving force in the design of goods and services. ...