Customers today are spoilt for choice. Both Indian and foreign companies are marketing a lot of similar products, so companies have to struggle to beat the competition. Products must be good both in features and in design. They must be able to attract the customer’s attention when placed in the supermarket along with competitive products. It is not easy, given that the time a product takes to capture a customer’s attention is very short. This is why product design in operations management is a critical task.
Understanding Product Design
Product design in operations management is one of the crucial steps. Customers have many alternatives to choose from. Unless the product is designed to attract their attention, the company may find it difficult to sell the item. This one must have something special among the many competitive products to make the customer try it. It is the design of the product that prompts someone to try it the first time. At that point, the clients have no idea how good the features are and whether it works for them.
Once the customers have decided to try the product, it is easy to satisfy them by delivering the quality and functionality you promised. But before going into the design process, one must know why a particular item is being created. It must solve a problem within the budget that the customer is willing to spend. The product must also earn revenue for the company. The product design process will consider all these before creating it. Product design in operations management is the process that creates an item that fulfils the above conditions.
Anyone with creative and artistic qualities can become a product designer. Enrolling in the Advanced Certificate Course in Operations, Supply Chain and Project Management can be the first step to joining this profession. You can visit our website to learn more about the course and how it can benefit aspiring product designers.
The Product Design Process
As we have mentioned earlier in the blog, product design in operations management is not a single step but a detailed process. It is essential to know the process well if you aspire to become a product designer. This process starts with the user, who you have to satisfy with the item. The organisation must make sure that there is a need for the product.
- User Research
One can do user research in different ways. It depends on the product and the customer segment as to which method is best. Sometimes all the methods will be used to understand what the customer wants.
User Interviews – This is a method users are interviewed either in person or by telephone to understand their needs and what they expect from a new product. This process is time-consuming but can give you the most accurate insights.
Online Surveys – In this method, the company publishes questionnaires online and requests users to fill them out. This method can provide a large quantity of data in a very short time. This is an inexpensive method to collect information, but it may not be as accurate as the interviews.
Contextual Inquiry – Customers are observed when they use the products in a natural environment. It is an excellent way to empathise with the users and put yourself in their shoes.
Market Research – Studying the competitors and how they satisfy the customers is an excellent way to know what the market needs. It allows you to learn from the mistakes made by other companies and improve upon them.
- Narrow Down And Define
It is the next phase of product design in operations management, where a huge amount of data is analysed to determine the exact customer needs. In this stage, it is essential to understand the customer fully. Companies create user personas at this stage to help them narrow down the product design. Creating user personas helps companies understand the customers’ goals and motivations. The number of personas a company creates depends on the product and customer segments. By the end of this stage, the team is ready for a brainstorming session on the features of the product.
Once the team has an idea about what the customers need, it is time for them to sit down and ideate. The members have a brainstorming session where they discuss the different features that can provide answers to the users’ problems. With the flow of creative ideas, this stage also helps get the stakeholders’ confidence. Acquiring the resources required to create the first model or prototype is crucial. This step of product design in operations management helps ensure that the ideas are aligned with the company’s overall objectives.
- Create Prototype And Deliver
The next step is to put the ideas into practice. The company starts by creating a prototype that only has the necessary functions. The prototype helps the company test the product and ensure it delivers what is promised. Once the prototype is tested and found good to use, the product design teams create a minimum viable product or MVP. This product is released to a few selected clients to see their reactions. After successful testing of the MVP, the product reaches the market. But product design in operations management continues as the customer needs change.
Five Characteristics To Remember When Designing A Product
The team involved in product design in operations management must remember that the first quality a product must possess is utility. The company must make sure that the item is useful to customers and that it can solve a problem that they find serious enough. Every aspect of the product design should deliver some value to the user. If this is not so, it is possible that the user experience will not be as expected.
It is not enough for the product to be useful to the customer. It must also look good. Aesthetic appearance is an important element of product design. Even if an item can provide all the solutions to a problem, if it looks ugly, it will not sell in the market. Appearance is also very important to attract customers to choose this from several competitor products. The team taking care of product design in operations management should never miss out on this aspect.
People want to be able to use the product without much learning or practice. Simplicity is an important factor in a product. While it must serve the purpose, it must also be easy to use. Customers must easily understand what the product does and what each feature is for. This is an important thing that product designers must remember to include along with utility and aesthetic appeal.
There is no use launching a product that gives the same benefits as those already available in the market. Customers expect something extra when a new product comes into the market. Whether it is in the matter of design, ease-of-use or features, the product must have the edge over others. Those taking care of product design in operations management must take note of this aspect.
Nobody wants to discard a product soon and go for another one. Customers want their purchases to last longer and provide value for money. Product designers must make sure that the product serves users for a long time and has features that will take care of their future needs. Longevity is a testament to a designer’s skills as well as better for the environment.
Anyone aspiring to become a product designer should take note of the above points. They can learn more about these characteristics in the Advanced Certificate Course in Operations, Supply Chain And Project Management conducted by reputed institutions. You can visit our website to learn more about this program.
How To Make Your Product Designs Outstanding?
- It Should Serve A Purpose
A product must serve a purpose. Nobody buys anything unless it is useful for them. The first thing to remember in product design in operations management is to ensure that every aspect of the product design provides a utility value to the customer. It is not enough that the item looks good or is economical. Every element of the design should serve a purpose. If not, the product designers must seriously think of removing that element. Designers must remember that they are designing the product for someone else and ensure that it provides utility to the user.
- Too Much Is Not Always Good
It is easy for designers to get tempted to add too many features to a product. But it might get in the way of ease of use. A product must only have the features that are needed to make it functional. Most users don’t use all the features of a product. So it is better to reduce the features and make the product more user-friendly. Sometimes, too many features can turn customers away from a great product. Product designers must remember that most people prefer a simple product that solves their problems.
- Solve Existing Problems
It is always easier to convince people that a product can solve a problem they already face. It is not easy convincing them about problems that they may face in the future. So the teams involved in product design in operations management must make sure that they focus on the existing problems of a user while designing the product. It is not necessary to invent a problem that the product will solve. Once the product design can answer such issues, then the design team can improve the item by adding more features.
- Focus On Details
It is the little details that can prop a product up in a competitive market. People are so used to mass-produced items that only serve the purpose that they are looking for things that excel in detail. Taking care of small imperfections found in competitors’ products can attract the attention of customers. Product designers should make sure that every aspect of the product is perfect in all ways. This will help give an edge over the competition and win customers.
- The Last Leg Is Critical
It may only be ten per cent of the design from almost done to completion. But this ten per cent can take up more than fifty per cent of your time because this is where you add the finer details. The time you invest in completing this last leg of product design is what gives you success. It is this portion that differentiates your product from that of a competitor. Those working on product design in operations management should not hurry in this last stage because that can make the product a mediocre one.
Also Read: What Is The Scope Of Operations Management?
Points To Remember
Good Ideas Don’t Always Make A Great Product
Ideas are what lead to creating a product. But not all good ideas end up as products that excite the customer and bring profits to the organisation. Sometimes great ideas result in items that are not needed by the customers, at least till that time.
Not All Features Provide Advantages
Sometimes product designers become so excited with features that they add those that may not be required in the particular item at all. Those involved in product design in operations management must focus on providing advantages to the user and not just on adding as many features as possible.
Product Designing Is Not A One-Time Job
Your job is not over once you have designed a product and delivered it to the market. Customer requirements keep changing, and according to that, one must change the product design and keep adding or changing features. This is the only way to ensure that the product beats the competition and stays on top.
You can learn everything about product designing in the Advanced Certificate Course In Operations, Supply Chain and Project Management. A visit to our website can enlighten you more about this course.
Product design is a critical function that can decide the success or failure of a product. It is necessary to do enough research into user requirements before creating a product. One must also remember that product designers must be in constant touch with customers to know their changing needs and make changes to the product accordingly. It is an exciting profession for one who is ready to continuously research and innovate.