To create world beating products engineers primarily need three qualities. The ability to create a vision, be aspirational and also be well organised.
- Vision: It is important to have a clear understanding of a product’s intended function and objectives. The creation of a vision is helped by a good understanding of the business problem that needs to be solved.
- Aspiration: For a product to be better than competing products, whether that is faster or slower, bigger or smaller, cheaper or more expensive or any other superior qualities, requires a level of positivity, ambition, energy and the insight necessary to overcome any challenges to progress.
- Organisation: While vision and aspiration are great characteristics, no product will ever be developed without a degree of organisation. This requires an understanding of how the different resources such as people, skills, technologies, facilities, systems and many other components can be efficiently brought together to create something that works better than anything else.
Complex products such as Concorde, are made using thousands of components and, throughout the design process, engineers need to decide how they will work together and then, how to assemble them. The process of creating and designing such products is complicated and can take many years.
Once a product has been designed and manufactured, they can be operated for many decades. Concorde first started flying with passengers in 1976 and was operated for 27 years until 2003. In 1996 it set the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a commercial airliner.
Throughout these long operating lives it is important that designs are managed and maintained in a way that enables products to be operated as intended while also staying safe, economical and environmentally considerate.
TOP DOWN DESIGN
One of the challenges with managing complex products is that their designs change, not just during initial design and manufacture but also throughout their operating lives too. Software upgrades need to be implemented, old technology upgraded and sometimes components that are not performing as expected must be replaced. These changes are made as engineering modifications.
The process of ensuring designs continue to perform and remain safe requires careful planning and management control – combined with accurate record keeping. The most effective way to manage the overall design of a product is “top down”. The top down approach to design management looks at the overall performance of a product and its key components and systems.
PRODUCT DESIGNER TOOL
The Product Designer tool on this website supports the development of “top down” design thinking using “systems engineering” and “modular design” skills that engineers use to design complex products such as aircraft, trains, ships, spacecraft and so on.
Look at the case studies, select a world beating product and create your own design using the Product Designer tool. Register for a FREE account, save your design and then come back and make changes or, create another world beating product!