Do’s and Don’t in Product Designing

In the beginning of the project it was good because the design was clear to all. However, the new design was changed twice which confuses the design team and made them weary of continuing the project. The marketing team pre-printed some brochures though they are worried of the outcome. The sales team found out that they lost commissions, they passed the blame to the design team. When the people in management knew this they gnashed their teeth and in anger rained down memorandums in the company for the reason that their budget is running over.

Sounds familiar right? You might think that functionality is the main purpose of a product but the design of the product also plays a vital role. Although the process in design does not always run well and there are major things that needs to be fixed. The things below are the Deadly Sins of Product Design which you must avoid in order to keep your design beautiful and in line with its purpose:

Tunnel-Vision: Keeping up with a need while creating another one

A good concept in design certainly solves a problem and meets a need. It seems so easy to make a design but the important thing is you have to make one which will not create another problem. An example could be a pair of hedge clippers. Putting a safety lock into the cutters will solve any potential problem. However the user of the scissors should avoid the lock to slip into its original position which locks the scissors so he needs to hold it in a certain way which might not be too comfortable for the user. Be watchful on the design since it greatly affects the purpose of the product.

Glitter: Nice design but costly and impossible to make

Any person that loves designing products wants to have that brainstorming environment where spontaneity and art abound. Making new concepts of design is fun and not a boring one. You can have fun in design making but you need to stick with your goal and that is to make a good design. Generally, product companies go to design firms for the design of their products, however these design firms do not have technical expertise. In the end of it you will find that the beautiful designs that you have made are impossible to produce or they are very costly to make. Thus, it is important to know your budget and resources and use them wisely.

Imperceptiveness: The failure to produce a design that meets the user need.

The user should be comfortable of the design of the product. See ergonomics as well as human factors and study on how your product will be used by the users. Learn to know the requirements of the user. Ask the users to know what are their thoughts of the product. You need to study how will the user go with the product and note the efficiency of the product with each use. The method is good specially when you are planning to redesign a product or make a competitive product in the market. Good designs are those that have good aesthetics which users admire but actually they do not know about its efficiency. If the product will be more on design then it will result in the frustration of the user and the product will be short lived. Make your designs simple so that you can make the functionality of your product at its fullest.

Safety: A mixture of ideas for users safety

You will find many kinds of great ideas on the market but if you want to outshine those ideas you have to be unique. Stun the consumers with your great stuff that you made for them. Prior to making a new design for your product, analyze first the competition in the market. Make your research and know the likes and dislikes of the users who use that particular product and find ways on how you can make the product better. Add some features from other industries and create some ideas to make your product more appealing. See what are the trends in the industry right now and know how you can incorporate your ideas to come up with the next-big-thing. Show the consumers on how well your product is over the competition in the market.

Transience: Designing for today and for the future

If you get the current condition then its fine to make a design for the present. But come to think of the products that changed the world since they were not only made for the present but also for the future such as cell phones, coffee makers, computers, etc. If you want to make a good design then you need have to see the future. Do not be contented with your present good, look for ways on how you can improve your user-product interaction. Think 5 years from now and figure out what would it be. What could be the changes in the user requirements during that time? Where else can be your product be used? Can your product be used for a new purpose? Is there new technology available for your new design?

Egomania: Designing only for the sake of the design

The problem with search for ways to make our design good is that we want to make it look cool and fix those points but really not solving the problem. You need to meet the need first before going to the design. You will have the design as you continue to develop your product. You might find great designs as the one that equates to the success of the product but true success of the product means the product meets or exceeds the user requirements.

Distraction: Fixing the wrong problem

Designing a material needs time to come up with a unique art. However, you need to have control from your fluidity. Usually as the design of the product evolves, there are things that are discovered and things are fixed. This is the most useful part in the process of creation-but you have to use this well. You need to focus your attention always to the original design scope. Do not let your design affect the functionality of your product else you will not end with your product. Return to roots of it and ask yourself why the design is needed for the product. Let’s take for example the new air actuated corkscrew. What the designers have discovered was the problem is not the design of the corkscrew but how to get the cork from the bottle. Rather than making a new cork screw the designers just made the air pump corkscrew to solve the issue. By that example, we can learn that the wise thing to do is to be simple in our designs.

All You Need to Know About Production

The objective of any business firm is to maximize the difference between total revenue and total cost. This requires among other conditions that the firm purchases and combines factors inputs in such a way that the total cost of producing any particular level of output is the lowest possible figure, given existing technological and institutional conditions. The word production means manufacturing.

Production in the wide sense includes other activities that do not imply manufacturing of physical commodities. This is because the manufacturing of such commodities will be useless until they get to the consumers who need them for their satisfaction. This includes the process of getting goods manufactured to the final consumer such activities includes transportation, distribution and marketing. In addition , services which does not involve the “creating” of physical goods but which goes into adding to the satisfaction or utility of human beings are included in production and all these lead to the satisfaction of consumers and therefore, they are all part of production. A production process is the set of all activities that are required to convert a set of inputs (human resources, raw materials) into desired output such as finished products and services. Production therefore is the conversion or transformation of input into desire output.

WHY YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE KEY ASPECT OF FACTORY PRODUCTION

There are major key aspects or let me say types of production namely: job production, batch production and flow production. It is possible that these keys speech of production are utilized in a factory at different stages of the production of a product. JOB PRODUCTION: is the manufacture of a single complete unit of a product by an operative or a group of operatives and a number of such products can be worked upon simultaneously by different groups of workers. Each group of workers will complete work on the unit before taking up another.

BATCH PRODUCTION: batch production requires that the work on any product is divided into parts or operations. And that each operation is completed through the individual units making up the batch before the next operation is under taken.

FLOW PRODUCTION: is the processing of the materials continuously and progressive. Thus, their is no idle time as in batch processing since work is complete on a unit at a stage of production, it is moved on to the next stage without waiting for the other Items in the batch. It is necessary each operation or manufacturing stage is of equal length, and there is no moment off the production line; inspection is located within the flow production line and the inspection function does not occupy more than the unit operation time, all stages are balance, the correct material, plant and equipment is provided on time and maintenance is by anticipation not default.

SEE THE TYPES OF GOODS IN PRODUCTION

The goods in production can be classified in various ways, such classification includes: capital goods, consumer goods, durable goods and non-durable goods.

CAPITAL GOODS: these are goods needed for the production of some other goods such as machines, equipments.

CONSUMER GOODS: are those goods that are needed for the satisfaction of immediate wants, such as food stuffs.

DURABLE GOODS: these are goods that can last for a long period of time and can therefore be used as many time as possible such as furniture, electronics.

NON – DURABLE GOODS: these are goods which have shot life spam and can therefore be used probably only once or a few number of time such as raw materials generally.

KNOW THE PRODUCTION FUNCTION

Supposing the maximum amount of any production that a firm can produce with any given collection of factor input is determined by prevailing institutional circumstances and by the existing state of technical knowledge. The relationship between the inputs and the outputs is expressed symbolically by a production function of the general form Q=F(V1 V2 Vn) where the variables V1 V2. Vn represent quantities of various factor input and the variable Q represent the maximum output that the firm can produce with a giving set of the input variables. It is assumed that the effect of an increase in any of the input variable is at least up to some limit to increase output. It is also assumed that the proportions in which various factor inputs can be combined to produce a given quantity of output are normally variable. Cases of fixed proportions (at least among ingredients) are found in certain chemical processes; but otherwise, experience indicates that input proportions can be varied significantly with output at a constant level.

FIND OUT ABOUT PRODUCTION LIFE CYCLE

The essence of successful new product introduction of simplification may lie in the appropriate timing of the action. The characteristics of a generalizing product life cycle. The product life cycle is an important tool for analysis and planning of the market activity, it shows the trends in sales and profitability of a particular product over its life cycle. This life spam further has clearly separate stages just like the life of an individual human being.

SEE MORE ABOUT STAGES IN THE PRODUCTION LIFE CYCLE

There are four major stages in the production life cycle these are: introduction stage, growth stage, maturity stage and decline stage.

INTRODUCTION STAGE: this stage will be dominated by the need to establish the product in the market by building buyers and distributors’ awareness of the product and its benefit, consumer advertising and trade promotions will be important in this initial communication process.

GROWTH STAGE: once successfully established, the new product may begin to enjoy rapid sales growth which along with the lack of competition may make this the most profitable stage of the life cycle of the product. The growth stage should be managed so that a full demand base is built in market; there is selective building of customer demand at the expense of existing or substitute product types marketed by competitors.

MATURITY STAGE: it is essential to company profitability and cash flow that , the stage be prolonged for as long as possible for well established products and brands this should be a time for consolation in the market place is mainly concerned with market share, so critical marketing activities need to be managed. To maintain product distribution and customer access to the product, to maintain customer loyalty to the brand or product and hence the race of re- purchase.

DECLINE STAGE: ether for reasons of technical obsolescence, changes in customer or Trade attitudes towards the product over familiarity with it or the emergence of a better product elsewhere in the market; a stage may be reached when sales and profitability start a consistence and perhaps irreversible decline. Once management has recognized and accepted the inevitable, he should withdraw all expenditure on the product above its variables cost of production, and perhaps raising its price.

SEE THE PRODUCTION FACTOR:

Production factors are the agents, inputs or resources used in the process of production. Without such factors, productions may not be possible. However, it is not production factors themselves that are of much importance but the services that such factors could render in production. These production factors includes: land, capital, entrepreneur and labour.

LAND: is the earth and all the natural resources found in and on it. Such resources includes: forest, rivers, minerals and even it includes such thing as sunlight. Land is the final source of all materials because any commodity can be ultimately traced back to the land. The reward of land is rent. The term land is used in the widest sense to include all kinds of natural (as distinct from man-made) resources.

CAPITAL: could be as all forms of wealth that are set aside for the production of further wealth. Thus, capital represents the collection of wealth that are not needed for immediate consumption. Capital is also described as a derived factor because capital has to be produced before being used to produce commodities.

ENTREPRENEUR: is a person who initiates, organizes, control and directs the process of production and bears the resulting risk in the production process. An entrepreneur is the business organizer and the one who combines other factors of production for maximum output. The shapes of the curves in this figure are based on a normal distribution. The actual shape of the curve and the length of duration of the four constituent stages will of course, varies for each production or brand.

Pricing Your Products

In our scramble to find a way to offer the lowest prices on the Internet, we often overlook the basic steps that we should be taking BEFORE we even offer a product for sale.

We also overlook something even more important: you don’t HAVE to have the lowest price in order to make great sales. Following are some things I do before and after determining my bottom line. I sell by having products drop-shipped for my sites, which works VERY well, but these steps should be covered no matter your distribution method.

Should you be selling this item now?

Snowboards don’t sell well in the summertime. You may have a hard time moving a pair of roller blades in January. Don’t waste your time and your site space marketing products out of season. Ask your supplier for a little historical information regarding the best time to sell their products. Believe me, to everything, there IS a season. They have the figures. If they don’t want to share this info with you, find another supplier.

Identify your costs

Profit isn’t just the difference between wholesale and retail. You have other costs to consider. Think about every penny you spend in order to get that product to the customer’s door, and plan accordingly. For example, your merchant account probably costs you about 2.2% plus 30 cents per transaction. On an item you’ll sell for $20, that’s 74 cents. Don’t forget that calculation when pricing the item. Are you warehousing the item? How much is that space costing you per item per month? Did you spend money stocking up on shipping materials? How much per unit? What about advertising? Monthly hosting costs? You may need to project some estimated sales in order to arrive at some of these figures.

This may seem very complicated, but it’s really not. Just take the figures one at a time, and you’ll arrive at a wholesale cost plus an amount that, when added together, becomes your initial ESTIMATE of “cost of goods sold”. Identifying all your costs is critical if you want to price your products properly.

Check out the competition

Search on the item you plan to sell. Check out the competitors’ prices. But DON’T get caught up trying to beat the wrong competitor. You need to stay within your “venue”.

My stores are built in Yahoo Shopping (http://store.yahoo.com). 90% of my traffic comes from there. When I seek out my competitors, I look for other businesses like mine ONLY in Yahoo Shopping. Then I compare.

If I’m thinking about selling a product, and I get 1,500 hits in 400 stores on that item in Yahoo Shopping, forget it. If I get a hundred hits in 20 to 40 stores, I’ll look into it further.

So check out the competition, narrow down your product list, make a note of the five lowest prices you find, and then ask yourself another question:

Is anybody going to buy this thing?

This doesn’t have much to do with pricing, but it should be said.

When considering products, there’s unique, and then there’s too unique. Yak Cheese may sound like something that nobody else has for sale on the ‘Net. There’s a reason for that. If you sell more than 3 boxes a year, I’ll EAT some.

Unique is Rain Barrels made in Maine. It’s Exotic Cheeses imported from Italy. Silk Parisian Lingerie. Things you don’t see every day, but would be proud to give as a gift.

Then there’s “common”. Everybody and their grandmothers are selling Alabaster Figurines on the Internet. Do they sell? Sure, in a limited fashion. Do you want to sell them? Not if you want to make any real money.

In my experience, unique products, like Rain Barrels and Parisian Lingerie, DO sell. So do Coleman Sleeping Bags, and Conair Hair Dryers. BRAND NAMES sell. Look at your potential product, and ask yourself honestly if YOU would buy it on the ‘Net.

Set your price

Take the five lowest prices you collected on a product in your list that has survived the above. Calculate your estimated cost, then subtract that from the lowest price. If you don’t see at LEAST 15% profit, don’t bother.

If you do, there are a couple of ways to proceed. You can undercut the lowest price in your “venue” by a bit, and hope to “kick off” the product and get yourself noticed. Chances are, though, that the following week you’ll find that someone has undercut YOUR price by just a bit. That becomes a losing game.

I generally set up a couple of “loss leaders”. These are desirable items (in my general product line) that I sell dirt cheap just to bring in customers. Then I price the rest of my products at the second or third lowest price in my venue. The customers come in for the loss leaders, and then I can market everything else to them via email. I spend a lot of time making my site look better and easier to navigate, and pay a great deal of attention to my customers.

That makes me more reputable in the eyes of the customer. You’ll find that people don’t mind paying just a little more if they feel comfortable in your store. They don’t like to worry that they’re buying from a “hack” who may not deliver. Nothing says “hack” like a cluttered, confusing storefront.

Follow up

After you’ve sold an item for a month or two, revise that “cost of goods sold”. Measuring past performance is just as important as setting the correct price to begin with. If sales drop, recheck your competition. If that’s not it, drop the product, or shelve it until the “season” comes back around. Don’t get sentimental about your products, and NEVER just let your store sit there in limbo once it starts to make money. This is a dynamic business; stay on top of it!

A last word (or three)

Retail pricing on the Internet is so fraught with permutations that it would be impossible to cover everything here, even if I KNEW everything. The steps above are just the basics of a process that works for me. Hopefully something here will strike a chord and work for you as well. Patience and persistence are the keys to a successful Internet business, so hang in there, and don’t quit the day job for at least a couple of weeks. ;o)

I hope this helps in your future marketing decisions.

Understanding the Nature and Purposes of Promotional Products

A very essential factor that any business and company must have is a constant flow of traffic. Knowing this, business owners need to find techniques to enhance the exposure of their company. Advertising is the best way to do this; however, in this modern world there are already various methods of promotion that you could choose from. You can benefit from the media through T.V, radio and Newspaper advertising, create an attractive collage or flier or make use of valuable materials such as bags and shirts.

How Promotional Products Work

Researchers have shown and proven that these products have done an outstanding effect in increasing money traffic, generating leads, developing a company’s identity and in building client’s loyalty especially in this tough economy. These promotional products work by imprinting your company’s logo and name unto the item. The most common materials used are bags, shirt, and toys. Because these items are appealing and beneficial, people like to accept them and serves as motivators and incentives. Because they are so products to choose from, you can be flexible in planning an effective advertisement. According to a research study conducted by one of the universities in the United States, these techniques can significantly increase rates for up to 75 percent.

Promotional Products Pros

Promotional products are flexible and can be suitable in any kinds of ads and in any situations. The effectiveness and impact of your products used in promotion on the marketing campaigns can be easily measured, and feedback can be seen every time. When your customers received an item from you, they will feel they are given importance by your company and therefore provide a great way in building clients’ loyalty by a higher perceived value. They also complement targeted campaigns and other media with its ability to be modified for the exact campaign and can also work efficiently when joined together with other marketing products.

It is proven that promotional products are effective techniques used to improve product sales, but there are times that these items are not applicable for other purposes. There are times that small business may sometimes find difficulty in paying for these products due to a deficiency in resources compared to bigger companies. Generally, products used for promotions are for short durations and increases sales for a short while which is difficult to maintain. The bottom line is you need to ensure that your marketing and advertising department should use effective strategies on how to implement properly your marketing strategies.