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Evaluation And Manufacturing
7.2.1 Identify the nature of evaluation at different stages of the product cycle.
Different types of market research, for example, evaluating competitive products, evaluating the success of a new product and evaluating for redesign.
7.2.2 Define cost-effectiveness.
7.2.3 Explain the importance of cost-effectiveness to manufacturers.
In order to maximise profit, manufacturers require the most cost-effective production system. This is often the major aim of the brief for designers.
To companies no matter the size, cost effectiveness plays a major role as it enables companies to manufacture product in numerous amounts yet still has the capability to use as little money as possible. This allows major companies to save up loads of money. It is important to do this that way even if the company faces a sudden economic crisis such as this one, it can still produce its product and not need to take money from the bank as the production costs are relatively low. If a company is able to succeed in making its production line cost-effective, then it will be able to increase its profits. This will allow them to invest more on making their production line cost effective and efficient. One part of an example of this is how certain companies utilize recycled water rather than always getting new fresh water for their machines. This allows the company to save money on water. A good example of cost effectiveness however, is shown in a marble and granite company that produces tiles. In order to make the tiles, the marble has to undergo several stages. In this company, it combined these stages together to make a “tile line”. This is cost effective and efficient as it save a lot of time as the company doesn’t have to keep transporting the marble from machine to machine therefore the costs go down as the company will not pay for transportation.
7.2.4 Define quality control and quality assurance.
7.2.5 Compare quality control with quality assurance for manufactured products.
Quality control is the branch of engineering and manufacturing which deals with assurance and failure testing in design and production of products or services, to meet or exceed customer requirements. (Wikipedia definition for quality control)
Quality assurance refers to planned and systematic production processes that provide confidence in a product's suitability for its intended purpose. It is a set of activities intended to ensure that products satisfy customer requirements in a systematic, reliable fashion. Quality Assurance cannot absolutely guarantee the production of quality products, unfortunately, but makes this more likely. (Wikipedia definition for quality assurance)
Note: One must understand that quality is determined by the target market such as the product's users and customers, not by society in general. One must not confuse quality with terms such as 'expensive' or 'high quality'. For example, low-priced goods can qualify as ‘quality items’ if they meet a market need.
7.2.6 Define performance test.
7.2.7 Describe one advantage and one disadvantage of using a performance test to collect data.
It is possible to collect quantitative data, but the test may be time-consuming and costly. It can be used where a user trial is not feasible, for example, crash-testing cars.
Advantages: Reliable: Precise performance with less human errors. Better Quality: You could run tests in less time and with less error.
Disadvantages: Costly materials and if it does not go right the first time it would be a waste of time and money.
7.2.8 Define field trial.
7.2.9 Describe one advantage and one disadvantage of using a field trial to collect data.
Field trials are usually quite extensive exercises, so can be expensive, but the product is tested in the marketplace, which provides data that is different from laboratory-based evaluations.
• There is the possibility to control many variables which may influence the outcome like the tasks to be carried out, the previous knowledge of the test subjects, the environmental conditions.
• Detailed and qualitative and precise quantitative data can be collected from the use of technology and the controlled conditions.
• A technology may be successful in controlled conditions like a laboratory, but not in real life. There are many variables which are not under the control of the researcher and are only external.
• It is possible to collect quantitative data, but the test may be time-consuming and costly. It can be used where a user trail is not feasible, for example, crash-testing cars.
Bulleted list and italicised paragraphs are excerpted from Design Technology: guide. Cardiff Wales, UK: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2007.
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