There are a number of ways in which businesses involved with producing electrical and electronic equipment can benefit from efficient product design.
Using efficient design for your products will help you to comply with legislation that controls product design, eg restrictions on energy use and hazardous substances - see energy labelling and ecodesign of energy-related products and restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS).
Efficient product design can also enable you to cut your costs - for example, by reducing the amount you pay to buy materials and dispose of waste.
Designing your products so that they can be easily serviced and upgraded to extend the product's lifetime can provide marketing benefits and enhance brand value. This may include:
- considering higher specification components, sub-assemblies and printed circuit boards to provide greater product reliability
- designing parts for equal lifetime, since failure of a single part often means that the whole product is discarded
- designing for disassembly to ensure that products can be taken apart efficiently
- modularising to enable product upgrade and repair
- ensuring replaceable and upgradable components have easy accessibility
- considering how best to supply spares
- reducing packaging materials
- planning for end of life reuse and recycling
- reducing whole-of-life energy use
Using environmental labelling or green claims can provide marketing benefits by highlighting that your products are designed specifically to reduce their overall environmental impact - see how to market your environmental credentials.
By presenting yourself as a business with environmental credentials, you can exert pressure on your suppliers by:
- dealing only with suppliers that have an environmental management system certified to a standard such as ISO 14001
- asking your suppliers to demonstrate that they manufacture their products, components or materials in an environmentally responsible manner
- looking out for suppliers that offer sustainable product design advice on the sub-assemblies they manufacture
Reducing the costs and environmental impact of suppliers may mean that they can charge you less - see supply chain efficiency.
Functionality and service innovation
Efficient product design can stimulate innovation and lead to radical changes in your products themselves. For example, if customers simply want to use the service provided by a product, then leasing may be the best way forward. The ongoing income stream provided by selling services can be advantageous to your business model.