Business problem solutions

The following articles provide 20 common business problem solutions which relate to products and design. Solutions target industrial products which include complex assemblies. The solutions all use product standardisation, product configuration and design automation to resolve common everyday problems.

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Delivery time solution

For engineer to order (ETO) product companies, excessive delivery time may be incurred if product design is completed after receiving the customer order. Additionally, the company incurs further cost and is exposed to additional risks of error. Furthuremore, to counter errors there is additional time and cost for checking the…

Sales cost solution

Engineer to order (ETO) product companies must have the means to provide sales teams with quality product information without delay. The failure to provide good quality product information may be losing the company business and adding to sales cost. It is not sufficient for sales teams to use generic information,…

Error rate solution

Design errors occurring in the issue of products are costly, they lead to delays, rework, loss of customer creditability and poor morale throughout the company. A high error rate can occur in sales, engineering and production. While people cause errors, management has a responsibility to provide processes that make it…

Profitability solution

Healthy product margins are essential for a business to succeed. Good access to reliable and accurate product costs are essential for managing profitability. Without accurate and timely information it is impossible to make adjustments to correct poor profitability. Margin erosion can occur for numerous reasons including errors, failures, poor estimation…

Engineering time solution

Engineering time requires careful management. Workload comprises of both scheduled and unscheduled work. Unscheduled work often comes from the need to support sales and production. Also, Engineering must respond quickly to errors that arise which can affect sales and production. Most scheduled work is cyclic, and backlogs can frequently occur….

Sales time solution

This article looks at sales time and considers whether this time can be reduced. All companies provide customer quotations, the time to create these differs widely for each company from a few minutes to several weeks. Creating a customer quotation requires several internal and external processes. After establishing the customer’s…

Product cost solution

Sales teams are resourceful when compiling information for customer quotations. They are particularly resourceful when calculating the product cost. Sales use many methods to determine the cost of a product, some of which may be unreliable. This paper looks at a method to resolve unreliable product cost. The information available…

Product development solution

Product development does not always need to be groundbreaking blue sky work. For existing products,  product development should be a continuous incremental improvement process. Well executed incremental product development eradicates problems as they occur and adds features and options as needed. New customer requirements are incorporated providing new sales and…

Design capacity solution

Many companies encounter times when either Sales or Engineering lack design capacity to accommodate further work. Management faces the decision of whether to turn down new work or overburden departments with additional work with the intention of managing the impact on staff and other activities. By working differently, companies can…

Product planning solution

Product planning is difficult when the majority of work is reactive to order fufilment processes. Customer priorities generally take precedence over any planned strategic work. Product development initiatives start off with good intentions. As other priorities take precidence, many product development projects are shelved. By working differently, product design can…

Documentation solution

Many companies require extensive product documentation. Documentation may include user manuals to explain how a product works or how it should be installed, commissioned or maintained. Information is often required to write software to control the operation, or details to allow integration with other systems. Law or customer specifications often…

Change management solution

In this section, we consider change management regarding product specifications. Changes may occur for many internal and external reasons. Changes tend to have a more significant impact when they occur later in the business process. External changes may result from, the customer changing the specification or a supplier unable to…

Information location solution

Information location can be a time-consuming task. Without a central information library, the quality of information is difficult to determine.  This article focusses on resolving information location problems using product standardisation and a central information library. Finding the most current and comprehensive product information is essential to Sales, Engineering and…

Product integration solution

Product integration issues can damage customer creditability and be costly to resolve. Products should integrate with products which they are intended to connect. Components should integrate internally with other components within the same product. Internal integration issues can cause additional work during the execution of a product. Costs escalate if…

Product rule solution

A product rule may be used to govern how a product is used or integrate with other products. Moreover, a product rule can be used to size components or adjust the features offered. Product rules ensure that a product performs safely under specific conditions. They govern limits of use. Engineering…

Component volume solution

Component volume affects the business in several ways. Better prices may be negotiated or offered for more parts. Higher component volume can justify moving to lower unit cost manufacturing processes. Reducing the number of parts used reduces inventory and associated costs. Greater reuse of parts simplifies product management and builds…

Product contingency solution

Some companies feel the need to apply a product contingency to product or project costs to allow for uncertainty and variations that occur during engineering and production.  By working differently, product contingency will not be required, providing more visibility of genuine costs.   Problems: Product contingency masks the underlying problem…

Sales handover issues resolved

Sales handover processes are required when responsibility passes from Sales to Engineering or Production. The meetings are used to clarify any uncertainties in the information being handed over and customer requirements.  Meetings attended by representatives from each department. Often the information supplied by sales is incomplete and requires engineering effort…

Engineer profile resolved

In some companies, product design engineers do not receive sufficient recognition. Their role in the company is often to provide incremental changes to established products rather than adding value by providing innovative solutions. Companies working this way miss out on opportunities to introduce new products frequently. By working differently, companies…