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2.1.1 Describe the product cycle.
Stages of product cycle
2.1.2 Discuss the role of the designer in the product cycle.
Designing is part of the product cycle: as a need is generated, a product is designed, made and sold, eventually becoming obsolete. The cycle is complicated by distributors, retailers, accountants and production engineers, all of whom have an influence over the cycle. Although the designer is an integral part of the process, he or she is not necessarily in control (unlike in the design process).
Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacture (CAM), where a prototype is produced by the designer from his or her personal computer (PC), blurs this distinction.
Designers carry out design work for a project. Designers have the task of creating or of being creative in a particular area of expertise. It is frequently used to reference someone who draws or in some ways uses visual cues to organize their work. Designers are usually responsible for making a model that takes into consideration each step in a product's development. They first design the product and then send there idea to go be manufactured and then bring back a prototype to be evaluated. This is a part of the product cycle which includes (distributors, retailers, accountants and production engineers, all of whom have an influence over the cycle). The designer has a certain amount of control over the actual product design but not as much over the product cycle.
2.1.3 Outline the product cycle in terms of early, mature and late stages of development.
In the early stages of the product cycle, many changes to the product take place until it develops to the mature stage, where it is diffused into the market, gains acceptance and sells well. In the late stage, the product begins to decline in need and therefore in sales.
There are three main stages of the product life cycle which are early, mature and late. During the early stages the product has just recently been introduced into the market and tends not to sell well and maybe overpriced in order to break-even. It also undergoes many changes. During the Mature stages of the product cycle the product is now reached its peak where little changes to its design occur and sells very well. During the late stage the product's sales decline and becomes obsolete.
2.1.4 Identify products that are at the early, mature and late stages of their product cycle.
The ballpoint pen is in the mature stage, as it still sells well although the design does not change much. The cassette tape is in the late stage, as it has been overtaken by successive generations of products.
2.1.5 Compare the design cycle with the product cycle.
Highlight how the design process is aimed at producing a suitable solution to a problem, and that the product cycle is concerned with putting that solution into commercial practice.
2.1.6 Discuss why for many products the product cycle has shortened.
Compare a laptop computer and a ballpoint pen. Laptop computers are an intensely competitive market, with size and power being key issues.
In the field of Laptop computers, there is the need to have the fastest, lightest, and smallest laptop with the longest battery life. This causes many laptops to soon become obsolete after their release, as the market will all ways have a new contender for the ultimate machine. The life cycle of a laptop is therefore shortened, because it is considered obsolete after a newer and faster product is released. For ballpoint pen, for example, has a longer product cycle. The need to write is addressed by the almost unchanging technology inside of the pen. This product could possibly never become obsolete, this would mean that the product cycle could never end.
Bulleted list and italicised paragraphs are excerpted from Design Technology: guide. Cardiff Wales, UK: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2007.
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