The design of functional (total care) products

Author/s: T.Alonso-Rasgadoa, G.Thompson, B.Elfström
Language: English
Year: 2004

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Total Care Products (Functional Products) are integrated systems comprising hardware and support services. The Functional Product supplier provides all the support systems that are required to keep the hardware operable. The support systems are often referred to as ‘services’. The success of Total Care Products depends upon both hardware and services. Well established methods exist for the design of hardware. In comparison, design processes and methods for services are not so well developed.

This paper is concerned with the definition and design of functional Products, in particular design of services in the context of Total Care Products. Literature from the service sector is reviewed exten-sively to identify the principal components of service design. The information required for the execution of each component of the process, and outputs of each component, are considered with respect to the design of Total Care Products. Of particular interest is the customer-supplier relationship throughout the design process.

The design of a Total Care Product may involve the creation of a new service system or there may be an existing system that may be adapted or developed. Similarly, hardware may be mature or be a completely new product. There are therefore number of permutations of novelty and maturity in the hardware and service components of a new Total Care Product. The design processes and methods employed must take into account the required degree of novelty in each component. Typically a customer will be given a guarantee of a certain level of availability of the Total Care Product. This brings into sharp focus the reliability and maintainability of the total system. Further research directions in Total Care Product design are identified especially related to functional reliability.