Product Development Toolkit

The Product Development Toolkit provides a comprehensive set of tools to support the product development process from initial definition of customer needs through the development of control plans prior to start of production. The Product Development Toolkit supports the quality frameworks of:

The Product Development Toolkit contains the following tools:

The framework or process flow for the Product Development Toolkit is shown below.


All tools include detailed instructions, links to descriptive papers about each technique and supporting guidelines, and one or more examples to illustrate the usage of the tool.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

Quality Function Deployment is a powerful tool to plan products and their specific characteristics and required manufacturing processes. It starts with capturing the voice of the customer (VOC) and next performs competitive analysis as a basis for planning specific technical characteristics of a product to maximize customer value. In addition to providing a rigorous approach to planning, QFD facilitates product team communication and collaboration. QFD is described in more detail in our paper, “Customer-Focused Development with QFD”. The product planning matrix is illustrated below:


The Product Development Toolkit supports all four phases of quality function deployment by providing the following QFD software tools:

  • Customer Needs Dictionary
  • Product Planning Matrix (House of Quality)
  • Concept Selection Matrix
  • Part/Assembly Deployment Matrix
  • Process Planning Matrix

Note that the Control Plan presented later performs the same function as the QFD process and quality control matrix.

Target Costing / Design-to-Cost

Target Costing is a market-driven strategy and process that begins with what price a product can sell for in the marketplace to achieve a desired sales volumes. Target cost is then calculated by subtracting the desired profit margin from this target price. The target cost is treated as an independent variable that must be satisfied along with other customer requirements rather than the result of design decisions (dependent variable). This cost would be considered the unit production cost that is expected to be achieved during a mature production stage. Design-to-cost is the process to achieve the specified target cost. Design-to-cost uses product cost models and estimating systems to evaluate design options and relies on tools such as design for manufacturability / assembly, value analysis and process re-engineering to achieve reduced product costs. Target costing and design-to-cost are further described in our paper, “Achieving Target Cost / Design-to-Cost Objectives”. The target cost evaluation worksheet is illustrated below.


The Product Development Toolkit provides the following target cost and design-to-cost software tools:

  • Target Cost Calculation Worksheet
  • Target Cost Evaluation Worksheet
  • Target Cost Tracking Worksheet

Design for Manufacturability/Assembly

Design for Manufacturability/Assembly (DFM/A) refers to the principles of designing assemblies so that they are more manufacturable. DFM/A principles address Fabrication considerations, general part size and geometry for handling and orientation, features to facilitate insertion, assembly orientation for part insertion and fastening, fastening principles, etc. The objective of DFM/A is to reduce manufacturing effort and cost related to fabrication and assembly processes. Our paper, “Design for Manufacturability / Assembly” describes the DFM/A methodology and benefits. The Product Development Toolkit contains a DFM/A Evaluation Worksheet. The worksheet provides a simple to use assessment methodology to evaluate concepts and designs early in the development process before sufficient information may be available to use more formal DFM/A analysis software (e.g., Boothroyd and Dewhurst, GA Seer DFM, Team Set, etc.) or for companies that don’t want to make a more significant investment in DFA software. The DFM/A Evaluation Worksheet is shown below.

Design for Manufacturability and Assembly Evaluation Worksheet

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is methodology for analyzing potential reliability problems early in the development cycle where it is easier to take actions to overcome these issues, thereby enhancing reliability through design. FMEA is used to identify potential failure modes, determine their effect on the operation of the product, and identify actions to mitigate the failures. More information on FMEA can be found in our paper, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. An example of part of an FMEA is shown below.


Control Plan

Control Plans aid in the manufacture of quality products to meet customer requirements. They provide a written description of the system and mechanisms to minimize product and process variation. The Control Plan augments the information provided in detailed operator instructions. Control Plans may apply to an individual part or product or to a family of similar items produced using the same process and source/equipment.

Control Plans describe the actions required at each step in the process to assure that all process outputs will be in a state of control. During regular production runs, Control Plans provide the process monitoring and control methods used to control part or product characteristics. During product development the Control Plan is used to document and communicate the initial plan for process control. During production, it guides Manufacturing in how to control the process and insure product quality. The Control Plan is updated as the design changes, the process changes or measurement systems and control methodologies are improved. Control Plans are conceptually similar to the fourth phase of QFD, process/quality control planning and are often used in place of preparing this matrix. An example of a control plan is shown below.


Product Development Toolkit Software

The Product Development Toolkit software is a Microsoft Excel® template. It requires Excel® 97 or later. Since most people know how to use Excel®, and instructions are provided for each worksheet tool, the Product Development Toolkit can be learned and used very quickly. The Product Development Toolkit is also a component of the PD-Trak system for planning and managing product development.

An individual license is available for $495. A business unit or site license is available for $2,500. Licenses can be bought by credit card below and will then be delivered by email.

Product Development Toolkit License Options

For questions or to order by purchase order or wire transfer, contact Kenneth Crow by email at: