White paper Released on Improving Perceived quality While Optimizing New Product Development and Manufacturing Costs

Paper discusses business reasons behind the need for improved perceived quality and cost optimisation, the issues affecting its achievement and new technologies designed to assist.

Manchester, UK. 4 November, 2008. Icona Solutions Ltd., the developer of innovative perceived quality simulation solutions and Cambashi Ltd., the engineering and enterprise IT applications market research and analysis consultants, have published a white paper titled: Managing changing quality needs in automotive and consumer product industries. The paper, sponsored by Icona Solutions, discusses the issues facing manufacturing companies striving to achieve improved perceived quality in their products while containing, or even reducing manufacturing costs and outlines emerging technologies that are designed to assist in the achievement of improved perceived quality.

As the authors of the report, Allan Behrens and Dan Roberts of Cambashi, point out, quality in manufactured products can be classified into two different types:

•        Measurable quality; designed in with deliberate tolerance and monitored by manufacturers’ quality assurance procedures.
•        Perceived quality; formed in the mind of the customer.

In today’s global market there are always low-cost competitors and the need to compete on value-for-money must be weighed against the desirability of high quality products. For manufacturers, particularly in the automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, domestic appliances and similar market sectors, improving the quality of production to exceed customers’ expectations in a cost-effective manner is an imperative.

And while today’s digital design and visualization tools, together with tolerance analysis software and rapid prototyping technologies enable manufacturers to fine-tune their product designs in the virtual world in far less time and at less cost than was previously possible, these technologies all deal with the nominal, ideal model of the product. However, it is the manufacturing variations that will inevitably occur during the production process that will affect the perceived quality of the final product.

Predicting manufacturing variation
Having examined the issues facing manufacturers in their attempts to improve perceived quality, the white paper then looks at trends in technologies designed to provide manufacturers with early insight into the effects of manufacturing variation on perceived quality.

Unlike pure styling, design and analysis tools, new software products help manufacturers visualize at an early stage in the product development process the effects of manufacturing tolerances on the final product. As the white paper notes, new software products don’t simply envisage the ideal product: they enable teams of design and manufacturing personnel to assess and validate quality targets and tolerances at the earliest stages and to simulate and visualize possible variations in a production run, before committing to tooling. The consequent cost-avoidance implications of this are significant.

The paper notes that new technology and associated new business processes redress the conventional belief that product quality is the sole domain of the production and quality assurance departments, whilst styling and the experiential value of the product is determined only by the design team. With this new approach, the work of the design and manufacturing teams becomes combined under a common vision of the product and quality becomes a remit within which all departments must fall. The earlier it is addressed the bigger the benefit.

Available free of charge
The white paper, Managing changing quality needs in automotive and consumer product industries, is available free of charge and can be obtained by visiting the Icona Solutions web site at www.iconasolutions.com/media.htm or by sending an e-mail to Email Contact.

About Icona Solutions Ltd.
Icona Solutions Ltd. develops and provides innovative and unique solutions to audit and improve perceived quality in manufactured metal and plastics products. Its software can form an integral part of a product design and manufacturing company’s overall product lifecycle management (PLM) software environment and is supplied and supported globally both directly and through qualified, specialist resellers. Icona Solutions is a member of both Dassault Systèmes’ CAA V5 Adopters and of Siemens PLM Software’s JT Open programs. Find out more at: www.iconasolutions.com


Editors: for further information contact:
Tim Illingworth: +44 (0)1706 629882, e-mail: Email Contact
Neil McLeod: +44 (0)1666 504293, e-mail: Email Contact

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