IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Changing Impact of Product Design for a Company

Listed author(s):
  • Tuomo K‰ssi


    (Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology)

Registered author(s):

    The paper presents the strategic importance of the manufacturing function for a company with a particular focus on the evolving product design and its importance. The production paradigm has changed from the start of industrial evolution to the mass production era, further to lean manufacturing, and finally to a focus of customization. In the course of changing manufacturing, the product design has also changed. The old pattern of designing products according to customer needs is still valid. In the early days of industrial production customer needs could be fulfilled by product design feasible for mass production. This is no more possible as the requirements of customers have become wider and more specific. Customization in product design includes the idea of serving all the varying customer needs, while carrying out production as effectively as possible. This aim can be reached if modern methods of product design are applied. The paper shows how advanced product and product family design can influence the competitive advantage of the company. This aspect includes ideas of standardization, modularization, and product platform design. This way many strategic benefits can be achieved. The need for advanced product and product family design is caused by such factors as increasing customer requirements, evolving production paradigm, and opening worldwide market. On the other hand, utilization of modern information systems makes it possible to handle the large amount of information caused by the increased product variation. The various aspects of evolving product design are discussed, including standardization, modularization, product platform design, and mass customization of products. They all aim to offer the customers exactly the products they need. At the same time, the advanced product and production design makes it possible to serve the customers in a cost effective way. These qualifications have a great impact on corporate strategy and the competitive advantage of the company. In the opening market the cost advantage in production is seldom a sustaining competitive advantage. The competition from low cost countries cannot be avoided in an open market. It is claimed that the factors of production which have qualitative features being valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable could give competitive qualities for products of a company. With these features the products can avoid direct price competition. If the product and production design can combine customization and cost effectiveness with the features of being valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable, sustaining competitive advantage can be achieved for a while.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology in its series Working Papers with number 174.

    in new window

    Length: 6
    Date of creation: 2008
    Publication status: Published in Working Papers in Economics.School of Economics and Business Administration,Tallinn University of Technology (TUTWPE), Pages 85-90
    Handle: RePEc:ttu:wpaper:174
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Kopli tn. 101, 11712 Tallinn

    Phone: +(372)620 3535
    Fax: +(372)620 3946
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ttu:wpaper:174. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Urve Venesaar)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.