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- Design is the key to competitiveness and is the basis of developing world class product development competence, Information technology is catalyzing the reengineering of the design process, thereby facilitation integration of design, prototyping and manufacturing. This has lead to the shortening of the design to market life cycle. Unless India develops design competence it will find it difficult to survive in a competitive environment.
- Design competence helps in creating and sustaining the intrinsic competitiveness. Design capability is crucial for technology assimilation as well as new rapid product development. New technologies are facilitation the three major phases of design namely a) design concept formulation b) conceptual design and c) detailed design. Fig 3.1 shows the process of design capability improvement initiated by emerging information technologies.
- Information technology helps in design concept formulation in a variety of ways such as interactive design, collaborative design, teleconferencing, objective orientated programming, etc. as shown in Fig. 4.1. These technologies help in rapid conceptualization of complex design through global data scan and facilitate the integration of multiple perspectives at the very early phase of design, thereby reducing the need for redesign.
- The major improvements in design has been achieved through the rapid product realization process using techniques such as visualization, animation, virtual reality, multimedia etc. at the conceptual design phase as shown in Fig 5.1. The digitalization is allowing faster realization of design and is helping in producing a large number of product models in a short time, consistent with the design objectives. This allows for rapid new product introduction in competitive contexts.
- The major techniques used for realization the detailed design is rapid prototyping, high resolution graphics, electronic data interchange etc. as shown in Fig 6.4. Information technology has helped in unifying design for manufacturing, design for assembly and design for esusability through compatible protocols.
- Traditionally design has bee treated as a non strategic issue and business strategy rarely considered it as a crucial element. But the emerging global competition is making design a crucial element of the business strategy since it has the maximum strategic leverage. The information technology is helping designers to reduce the design to manufacturing cycle time and is providing as integrated new product development system that ca be directly linked to the manufacturing system, as shown in Fig 6.5.
- Corporations have to reengineer the design process. The total design or integrated product development requires transformation of the conventional vertical new product realization system driven strategic intelligence system. The winners in the emerging information and competition era will be those who can sustain intrinsic competitiveness through processing of information and linking it with its strategy so as to exploit the business opportunities in a dynamic manner.
- An analysis of design practices of selected Indian firms shows that the firms with excellent design infrastructure have been able to withstand competition. The design management philosophy used by TELCO illustrates the manner in which TELCO has been able to compete in an open economy using design competence. TELCO has been able to introduce a variety of products very rapidly.
Indian firms, in general, have not integrated the new product realization strategy with the business strategy. The design competence and infrastructure have to be very quickly upgraded. A comprehensive national initiative on industrial design has to be initiated by TIFAC. In this initiative firms, research institutions, design consultants, software developers for design and academic institutions are to be involved in a time bound programme to upgrade the design infrastructure and to inculcate the design culture in Indian firms.