1.6 A PDS checklist
The product design specification, or PDS, should contain all the facts relating to the product. It should not lead the design by presupposing the outcome, but it must contain the realistic constraints on the design. This list is one attempt to cover the principal questions that need to be answered in formulating a PDS. Inevitably, it isn't comprehensive; specific products will require their own additional items.
At what speed must it operate?
How often will it be used (continuous or discontinuous use)?
How long must it last?
Environment (during manufacture, storage and use)
All aspects of the product's likely environment should be considered: for example temperature, humidity, risk of corrosion, vibration.
Target product cost
This is strongly affected by the intended market.
What is the nature and extent of existing or likely competition?
Does our specification differ from the competition?
If so, why?
Quantity and manufacture
Should it be made in bulk, in batches, or as individual items made to order?
Does it have to be a particular shape?
Can we make all the parts or must we buy some in?
Are special materials needed?
Do we have experience of working with the likely candidate materials?
Quality and consistency
What levels of quality and consistency does the market expect for this product?
Does every product have to be tested?
Does the product need to conform to any local, international or customer standards?
Is the product safe?
Are there any patents we may either infringe or register?
Packaging and shipping
How will the product be packaged?
How will the product be distributed?
Aesthetics and ergonomics
Is the product easy and fun to use?
Is it attractive to the right customer?
Does a market already exist or must it be created?
What is the likely product lifetime?
How long do we have to get the product to market?
What are the customers' likes and dislikes?
Does the product fit in with company image?
Are we constrained in material or process choice?
Are there any political considerations?