O PERATIONAL A SPECT After determining the functional aspect, the operational aspect has then to be considered. Not only must the product function properly, it must be easy to handle and simple to operate. Sometimes it has to be adaptable to various operational conditions, and very often it is subjected to varying degrees of skill of potential operators. The designer’s problem becomes all the more critical with the trend for increased versatility because this characteristic implies using basic attachments as elements for building suitable combinations for specific purposes. This requires a certain amount of operator intelligence and skill, which increases with the complexity of the machine. The scarcity of skill is a prohibitive limitation in this respect on the product designer.
134 Operations Management Fig. 6.2 Desk combinations (simplification of design). Variety achieved through standardization: With a limited number of components (one piece table to without joined corners or seams, legs made of seamless steel tubes, and interchangeable drawers) the designer managed to offer 36 possible combinations while exhibiting a pleasant style and functional simplicity ( Courtesy : N.V. Wed. J. Ahrend & Zoon—N.V. “Oda” Stallwerk–Amsterdam, Holland. Designer: Friso Kramer, 1958). The ‘get ready’ stage before the operation proper and the ‘put away’ time (including cleaning) should be carefully analyzed with respect to the excepted skill of the operator. Too often one finds ingenious gadgets (for example, in the field of household equipment) that are capable of performing an operation in a fraction of the time normally required but which involve such complicated preparations or such lengthy cleaning and ‘put away’ subsequent operations, that the ratio of net machine time to overall machine time becomes absurdly small. The beneficial features attributed to the gadget in such cases are rather questionable. Versatility of equipment should also be analyzed in this light. Especially when subsequent operations are to be carried out with the aid of different attachments, the designer should always bear in mind the time required for an operator to perform the change over and should make certain that this time is in reasonable proportion to the operation time. D URABILITY AND D EPENDABILITY These are two factors closely related to the selection of materials and class of workmanship and hence to the design of the product and the economical analysis of its cost. Quality is not always a simple characteristic to define, but durability and dependability are two factors that often determine quality and have to be carefully considered by the designer. Durability is defined mainly by the length of the active life, or endurance, of the product under given working conditions, but a measure of the product capability to idle or withstand storage is also often considered in assessing durability.
- Fall '17
- The Land