Jul 21, 2009

Lean design 1

What is lean design?
First of all, customer demand or need driven all activities in the company. In lean concept, we are only producing the product needed by customer. In the same words, we design the product according to customer wants.
There are three steps of the lean design, listed as 1. concept design, 2. detail design, 3. launch design. The details of those steps will explain below,
1. Concept design;
Refer the Kano analysis, in the stage of concept design, the designer or engineer should well study the customer demand according to Kano analysis. They should design which are the valued-added features for their target customer. For instant, a mobile phone manufacturer is going to design a easy phone for old people. They have to well study what are the features for old people needed. Is that old people need commerial features such as the words and excel built in their phone? Is that they need many mini game built in as well? No, I don't think so. On the other hand, I think they need a screen can shown bigger word and number. I also think they need a bigger keypad so that they can easier to press on the right number. May be they also needed a radio function built in so that they can listen the radio when they go out for a walk. So on and so on..., all the features they need are value-added. The manufacturer is only can produce a suitable product for their target customer in a good cost, otherwise, the product will cost too high and nobody would like to buy your stuffs. The value-added analysis is the most important tools in this stage.
2. Details design;
In this stage, we need to apply platform design and modular design in our product development process. In the words by lean concept, we must apply the standardization in our product design. Let us think about the design in automotive, all the car can be said combined by different engine platform, suspension platform, and structure platform in order to form a high flexible product line. What is the problem if they produce the car with different engine and suspension in every model? It is no way to produce the car in a low cost because they have to setup a special product line for every model, they have spend much resource to handle the material and subassembly. The other benefit is the automotive manufacturer can shorten the product development time. The engineer can choose the suitable engine, suspension and interior to fit with a attractive shape. That's the way how the successful manufacturer works for their product development, and it is also a lean concept applied. On the other hand, modular design is another important element in detail design. There is commonly appling on PC, and we always called it as, plug and play. It is good in expand the features of the product and reduce much development time. no matter is the platform design or modular design, they can be concluded as the standardization of lean concept.
3. Launch design;
For this stage, I will expand in next post. Thank you very much!

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