Success in product design is relative
In the world of product design, the saying ‘everything is relative’ has never been more relevant. With an increasing array of competitors and products on the market it can be hard to determine, what features your products need to beat the competition. Success requires that products are carefully designed with both customers and competitors in mind.
Understanding how your product design stacks up against the competition is both essential and increasingly difficult in this regard. Not only do the right competing products need to be assessed, but their features and design need to be understood sufficiently that your own products can be designed to provide more relative value for customers. This can be particularly challenging without a clear framework to approach this analysis. Luckily, Design for Excellence (DfX) provides a proven means to accomplish this using teardown.
DfX is a structured – time limited – approach to generate high-impact End-to-End solutions that addresses both Customer Satisfaction as well as Total Cost of Ownership; bringing disciplines together to break down barriers, creating continuous improvement across the value chain and assuring commitment of senior management for realization.
Tearing down the right things
The essential basis for a successful teardown exercise is selecting the right competing products. This may seem obvious but often goes awry in practice, especially when only the most obvious competing products are selected. Customers often take a broader perspective, factoring in all products with similar functionality into their decision-making. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate products beyond direct competitors that share a similar set of functionalities that might prove compelling to customers. Not only does this help paint a complete picture of the competition, it can often yield compelling insights for new designs.
DfX provides an approach and key tools to ensure that functionality, both of your products and those of competitors are being compared in a structured and balanced manner. This helps ensure that our development efforts are focused on the competing products that will yield the most valuable insights.
Doing a teardown
Once you know which competing products to tear down, the teardown itself can commence. This is where the product is disassembled and analyzed. To be of value this process must be done in a detailed and methodical manner. Furthermore, experts who have the right knowledge and can provide key insights must be involved.
Again, DfX can provide the essential approach and tools to make the teardown process a success and yield detailed insight into cost drivers, what constitutes state of the art, and the competitiveness of your design. Furthermore, this analysis often provides a wealth of inspiration for innovative designs and can yield significant cost savings.
Teardown is an essential tool in our Design for Excellence toolbox. Together with other tools and methods, teardown helps organizations increase value and reduce costs.
Ultimately, teardown and DfX will help you create superior product designs relative to your competition. In a relative world that is an absolute necessity.
This article is part of our series on Design for Excellence