Designing for the Future


Design is considered the process for which intelligent thoughts provide the form and function of a product as specified by client objectives and falls within constraints. The design process is most important part of the production cycle of a good or service. It is where most of the investment within a product is spent. Within the automobile industry the design process is key to the creation of a quality vehicle. The design process is similar to the general design process with some specifics.

Design management is the role of management to create synergy between departments to enhance this design process. It allows for concurrent engineering which decreases time-to-production and therefore cuts costs. Along with management’s role in creating effective design, designers must follow the standards and regulations put forth by such organizations as the NHTSA or the ASME. These guidelines include many different regulations which are either lawfully enforced in the case of the NHTSA, or encouraged in the case of the ASME.

Four cases are discussed to show the difference between good design and bad design and the consequences that follow. The Ford Pinto and Yugo GV are two cases which exemplify bad or poor design, while the Volkswagen Bug/Beetle and IDEO are the two cases associated with good design techniques.

From the consequences affecting the product, company, and financials of the company, some conclusions are drawn. First quality design should be sought by all even at the possible expense of low cost. Within the design process, rapid prototyping and frequent testing should be two tenants considered paramount.

By following these recommendations, the automotive industry will better fulfill their customers’ needs and thus create more profit and flourish.

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