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1.8 Product design

Clearly, an important part of the design activity is designing a product that will sell, and several of the items in the PDS checklist concern how the product would be perceived by the potential buyer. So although product design is intimately bound up with materials selection and process choice, decisions about which products to make and which processes to use cannot be divorced from consideration of what the customer wants to buy and what the company is capable of manufacturing. We saw earlier that the starting point for manufacture was a market need. So a company must identify, anticipate or create a market need before embarking on the design and manufacture of a product. This ties in closely with the idea that there is no point making something that nobody wants to buy. So how do we include information concerning the market, and the company's position in it, into the PDS? Again, a useful starting point is a diagram of the manufacturing system and we can redraw the system shown in Figure 3 to include the market as seen in Figure 5.

Figure 5
Figure 5 An expanded manufacturing system

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