Including product designers in the consideration of resource criticality – an approach from a business perspective

DS 85-1: Proceedings of NordDesign 2016, Volume 1, Trondheim, Norway, 10th - 12th August 2016

Year: 2016
Editor: Boks, Casper; Sigurjonsson, Johannes; Steinert, Martin; Vis, Carlijn; Wulvik, Andreas
Author: Link, Sandra; Denz, Naemi; Kloberdanz, Hermann
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: 1: TU Darmstadt, Germany; 2: VDMA, Germany
Section: Methodology: Special Applications
Page(s): 381-390
ISBN: 978-1-904670-80-3


Especially in recent years, the issue of resource efficiency has become focus of public debate. High and volatile raw material prices show the relevance of the topic. Not only on a political level, but even for companies themselves it is crucial to secure the availability of their resources. But especially Small and Medium-sized Enterprises face big challenges when assessing their products for critical resources and considering this in product design. In industrial practice it is often unclear how to detect supply bottlenecks and their reasons and what measures can be taken to reduce this criticality. Similar considerations concerning availability of resources seem to be done in other disciplines such as supply chain management. However, they seem to focus a purely procurement‘s point of view. The role of a product designer within this process remains unclear in the existing approaches. This paper therefore discusses the existing approaches as well as the role of a product designer when dealing with securing the availability of resources. For this purpose, first an understanding of the topic of supply bottlenecks of resources is introduced. Based on a literature review, existing approaches of different disciplines are presented. Furthermore, these approaches will be analyzed concerning the extend of covering the resources’ availability. It is worked out to what extend designers are already considered in these approaches and where still is a need for action. Furthermore, the benefit of including the designers in the process of securing the availability of resources is discussed. It can be asserted, that the product designer mainly determines product properties and behaviour through his design decisions. Thus, he influences the needed resources. By systematically integrating him in the process of securing the availability, it is possible to take measures in excess of existing sourcing strategies to preventively avoid supply bottleneck. This potential is not sufficiently considered in literature yet.

Keywords: criticality of resources, product design, procurement, cooperation, Risk management

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