In the development of the product, the design stage is the most crucial. Detailed specifications are listed for a product at this stage. These specifications ultimately result in product quality. The product’s design is translated in quantitative terms here. Compiling specification is not an easy task. It requires a great deal of time. The profitability and competitiveness of the product depend upon its design which in turn depends upon specification. And so specifications should be carefully developed. Properly formulated specifications have the potential of controlling costs at the design stage. The task of setting specifications is done in the face of sometimes conflicting views of different departments like sales, engineering and production. We cannot over specify as well as under specify. We have also to ensure smoothness of the production line. Specifications are therefore clear and explicit, and preferably written. Generally specifications are prepared by a multidimensional committee (consisting of the design engineers, the purchase officer, the marketing executive, the quality control executive etc). Only after the approval of the committee the design is finalized. In case of most widely used and highly competitive products, standard specifications are available. Drugs and pharmaceutical industry always falls in line with standard specifications given in official books like IP, BP, USP, USSRP, BPC, NF etc. Specifications are technical type or performance type specifications. Sometimes specifications take the form of a blue print describing an item of special design, with descriptions of casting, forgings, tooling, machining etc. accurately. Specifications are frequently reviewed considering the technological developments and marketing.
There are two apparently conflicting considerations that affect the product designing. We can standardize the products and improve the ease of their manufacture. On the other hand, we can offer a variety of products to meet different kinds of customers and their differing needs. There is a trade off involved here.
When you buy a new electric bulb, you know it will screw into the socket all right, because the bulbs are standardized. There are only a few kinds of bases made. Standard is the word that denotes that there are only specific sizes made and sold. Some people call the process of cutting down on the number of sizes simplification. Standardization they say is the process of writing done the size, shape, performance and other attributes of the items you decide to concentrate on. The two concepts are closely related.
Standardization (including simplification) means non standard items will not be made except when the customer orders them specially places a high order, and pays extra for non-standard items.
Sometimes standards have been enacted into law for safety or for health reasons. Mostly, though standardization is voluntary, industry wide standardization requires industry wide co-operation.
Standardization reduces the kinds, types and sizes of raw materials that have to be bought. This lets you buy and so get lower prices per unit. Standardization also cuts down on your manufacturing costs because you get longer runs on the fewer kinds of products that you still make. Your cut set ups costs and use more specialized machines. You also need fewer patterns and tools. We should be reordering larger quantities of fewer things and so holding done manufacturing costs.
In the markets, there is a demand or low volumes, and high variety. In such a situation, rigid standardization is not the solution. The right approach could be to design a range of products that share parts, people and production processes.
In order to get perceived variety or variety, designers resort to modular construction. Products are made mostly out of easily detachable sub assemblies or sections. When an item fails they take out the whole component of which it is a part, and put in a new component. Later they can repair the removed unit or throw it away. Nodular design is used extensively in computers. Besides different combinations of modules give variety of products. For instance, four dial shapes, four different colors, two dial movements and two dial sizes for each shape gives us 4X4X 2X2 X i.e. 64 varieties of wrist watches of wrist watches still making standard modules in large volumes. —