Customer needs were put into consideration so that the product could have good sales. The needs were considered because all products are aimed at meeting customer needs (Lawson 2006; Lin, Wang, Chen & Chang, 2008; Sundin & Bras 2005). If customer needs are meat by-products, then the products could record excellent sales. The following list provides the customer needs and their classifications that were considered when designing and developing the gum product (an adhesive product):
- Safety- essential
- Price- desirable
- Information- useful
- Options- desirable
- Fairness- essential
- Control- essential
Product safety was classified as essential because the product was not intended to cause any harm to users. It was understood that the adhesive could result in great harm if it could not be produced through the right chemical production pathways. Therefore, customers could consider the safety of the product before they could purchase it. The product was tested to determine the level of harm it could cause to users (Lawson 2006). However, if there were limited negative effects of the products to the potential users, then the product was approved by the quality control and development team.
One of the factors that determine the sales of a product is the pricing. This need was considered because it was expected that the product could have excellent sales. In fact, the need was classified as desirable because it was thought that some customers could not consider the pricing as long as the product was safe to use. In order to arrive at the final price, several factors were considered, for example, the cost of production and the targeted market, among others (Lawson 2006). Thus, efforts were made to have a product that could bring profits through sales to customers. However, the room was left for a change in price in case customers could claim that the price was too high.
The information needed was classified as useful. The contemporary world is characterized by consumers who are interested in knowing various issues about products and services. During the process and product design, the type of information that could be included on the material packaging of the product was considered. For example, the chemical composition of the product was included so that users could understand the chemicals that were used to make the adhesive product. Such information was important because, in case the product produced harmful effects on users, the product could be analyzed and its contents compared with the product’s chemical information (Lawson 2006).
The options need of customers was analyzed during the process and product design. It was essential to consider the need because customers compare the usefulness and prices of similar products in the market. For example, the adhesive product was found to have many competitors based on similar chemical components and uses. Thus, the product was designed in such a way that customers could find it to be the best in the market and purchase it for their daily uses that were associated with the product.
The fairness need of customers was categorized as essential. It has been shown that product consumers do not like being classified. Therefore, the adhesive product was made in such a way that it could be used for all users regardless of their socioeconomic status. This was geared at ensuring high levels of fairness.
The control need of customers was viewed as being important during the process and product design. It was classified as essential. The need of customers was essential because customers’ inputs are important in the design and sales of products. Thus, it was expected that the customer views could be considered because they reflect the actual observations of products once they are taken to the market (Lawson 2006; Lin et al 2008).
The production specification was as follows:
- Safety- the product is safe to use, but protective devices should be used. Some of the protective devices are personal protective equipment (PPE), for example, hand gloves and goggles.
- Price- the price on the package is the final price to customers.
- Information- the product should be used as an adhesive and should not be inhaled. It has been produced through standard laboratory procedures.
- Options- based on the analysis of similar products in the market, the product is the best.
- Fairness- the product does not discriminate against consumers based on their distinct classes.
- Control- customer views will always be welcome so that the product can be improved.
Criteria for choosing the product
The following list was used to provide the criteria for choosing the product:
- Process conditions
- Process economics
- Availability of raw materials
Choosing the product during the process and product design was essential because important considerations in the context of the product were made. The product was selected based on the feasibility of producing it in the laboratory and the economic implications for the production processes. The raw materials and production conditions were considered because they were unique concerning the product. Also, the kinetics, purity, and specificity of the product were used to select it. In addition, the wastes and patents associated with the product were considered.
A decision matrix is used to provide the ranking of criteria based on their importance (Lin et al 2008; Sundin & Bras 2005). The following decision matrix was developed based on the components listed in the criteria for choosing the product.
|Components (criteria)||Rank (8=low, 9=medium, and 10=high)|
|Availability of raw materials||10|
Figure 1. A table showing a decision matrix for the criteria for choosing the product.
It was recommended that the product was to be designed and produced using the best process economics and most available raw materials. This recommendation was on the premise that the product was to be sold to customers at a relatively low price so that it could gain a significant market share.
A commercial risk assessment
Commercial risks are the projected losses that could occur due to some uncertainties in the market (Lawson 2006). Commercial risks could result in significant losses that could to a discontinuation of a product from the market. In order to avoid losses, an analysis was conducted to identify and understand all the risks associated with the adhesive product. Two main categories of commercial risks were identified with regard to the product.
First, political risks could result in huge losses by affecting the sales of the product. The probability assigned to the category of risks was 0.2. In order to understand the risks, it was essential to closely monitor the political and economic events that could result in market uncertainties. For example, political instability could negatively impact the flow of exports and imports in the context of a country. This implies that the sales of the adhesive product could be affected because it could not be exported to foreign markets. Also, economic trends could make it difficult for a firm to manage its liabilities, which could make it sell some of its assets important in producing the adhesive product. Risks could also result from political realignments that could culminate in economic uncertainties (Sundin & Bras 2005).
Second, commercial risks that could arise from other factors that the firm could not have control over were also assessed (Lawson 2006). The probability given to the risks was 0.25. The product could be damaged by fire or could also be stolen while being transported to retailers. In order to avoid commercial risks, insurance policies were taken from reputable insurance firms.
Safeguarding the intellectual security of the product
It was essential to safeguard the intellectual security of the property so that other firms could not claim ownership. The following two procedures were conducted to safeguard the intellectual security of the product:
- Protecting the chemical composition of the product
- Patenting the product
The chemical composition of the product was protected so that other firms could not have access to it and start producing the product. Although the components used to make the product were disclosed, the percentages of the chemical components in the product were not disclosed. Patenting was the other procedure that was used to safeguard the intellectual security of the product (Lawson 2006). Patenting of the product involved obtaining a legal document to show that the original idea came from the manufacturer. Thus, no other person or business establishment could claim ownership of the idea and product.
Lawson, B, 2006, ‘How designers think: the design process demystified’, Routledge, London, United Kingdom.
Lin, MC, Wang, CC, Chen, MS, & Chang, CA, 2008, ‘Using AHP and TOPSIS approaches in customer-driven product design process’, Computers in Industry, vo. 59, no. 1, pp. 17-31.
Sundin, E, & Bras, B, 2005, ‘Making functional sales environmentally and economically beneficial through product remanufacturing’, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 13, no. 9, pp. 913-925.