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About the book
About the authors
1. The product
development project
in the company

2. The organisation of
the product
development project

3. Product strategy
development: idea
generation and

4. Product strategy
development: product
concepts and design

5. Product design and
process development

6. Product

7. Product launch and

8. Summary: bringing
it together

8.10 Textbooks in
product development

Index of Examples &

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Feedback (email link)
Product Strategy Development:
Product design specifications


In summary, a general outline for a product design specification is as follows:

      1. Product concept: general statement on the product
      2. Product qualities
      3. Target consumers
      4. Production design specifications:
            - Raw materials/ingredients
            - Processing/formulation
            - Packaging
            - Storage, transport
      5. Marketing design specifications:
            - Packaging
            - Promotion
            - Market channel
            - Price setting
            - Competition
      6. Environment:
            - Social
            - Cultural
            - Legal
            - Economic
            - Physical
      7. Costs:
            - Production
            - Marketing

In some industries this outline is called the product design brief.

In the first attempt at the product design specification all this information may not be available. The product design specification develops as more information is obtained and the first prototypes are developed in 'ball park' experiments. There is no specific time in the PD Process by which the product design specification has to be completed - it depends on the type of product and the company, but it should be at or before the early stages of product design.

When the product design specification is completed and agreed by all the different people in the PD project, including the top management, then it should be signed by all involved to show their commitment and responsibility. If major changes are made during the design procedure, then there needs to be a meeting of all concerned to ensure agreement on the changes. Example 4.3 is an example of a product design specification for vegetable-based frankfurters.

Example 4.3
Product design specifications: vegetarian sausages

1. Product Concept General Statement
A meatless frankfurter type product, similar to the meat sausage with respect to flavour, slightly smoked and mildly spiced; it has a long slender profile typical of a frankfurter sausage. The product is packed in a retortable pouch and can be stored at ambient temperatures. It is targeted at the vegetarian market segment specifically, yet is acceptable to the general market. It incorporates non-meat source proteins, fats and stabilisers, and is a protein/fat emulsion extruded into non-animal casings.

2. Product Qualities
Nutritional: high in protein and low in saturated fats and cholesterol.
Sensory: similar flavour, colour and texture to a meat frankfurter, slightly smoked and mildly spiced. The outer skin brown/orange in colour, and the inner matrix light pink.
Physical: a long, slender sausage shape, a 'meat like' emulsion matrix.
Chemical: meets with the legal chemical composition for sausage, no preservatives.
Microbiological: microbiologically stable, ensuring up to eight months' stability at ambient conditions. Free from Coliforms and Salmonella.
Processing: produces a stable protein/fat emulsion.
Storage: shelf stable under ambient conditions for eight months.
Packaging: pouch contains six sausages, weighs 250 g.
Price: $2.20 to $2.50 per 250 g pack.

3. Consumer
The target consumer is the vegetarian segment, as well as health conscious and innovative consumers in the general market.
The main additional consumer benefit is the convenience factor of not requiring refrigeration. This could be attractive to outdoor enthusiasts such as hikers and campers. Promote ambient stability and transportability of pouch.

4. Proposed ingredients and their functions
Ingredient Function
1. Wheat gluten Thermal gelation - texture and structure
2. Whey protein Thermal gelation - texture and structure
3. Hydrogenated vegetable oils Dispersed phase - mouthfeel and texture
4. Torula yeast Flavour and texture
5. Hydrolysed vegetable protein Flavour
6. Onion and garlic powders Flavour
7. Salt Flavour
8. Flavours Flavour
9. Water (potable) Mouth feel, texture and structure

5. Process
This is a new process for the company and there is no equipment available. A complete process could be bought from an equipment company, or the canning line could be adapted with the purchase of a filling line, or the company could design a new process. A sterilisation process is used, but the times and temperatures needed are not known.

6. Formulation: not known at present time.

7. Packaging
Preformed retortable pouches. Vacuum-sealed retorted pouches packed in corrugated cardboard cartons, holding approximately 24 packs of six sausages (6 kg).

8. Government regulations: not known at present time.

9. Marketing design specifications
Distribution: distributed through the present ambient physical distribution system, mainly to supermarkets, but also to specialty health shops.
Price: price per dozen 250 g packs is approximately consumer price $27.00, list price $23 ±10%, net wholesale price $18.
Promotion: directed to the general market as well as the vegetarian market segment. Emphasis is directed to supermarkets, delicatessens, and health food shops, in that order of priority.
Attributes to be promoted: no meat, no refrigeration needed, no preservatives, low levels of saturated fats/high protein status, no cholesterol.
Initial competition: would be slight; however, if the market should develop well, competitors are almost inevitable.

Think Break 4.6
Product design specifications: sign off

      If you, as the product designer, were presented with these design specifications, what questions
      would you ask before agreeing to them?

      Search for further information to answer your questions and complete the product specifications.

      If you, as the top manager, were presented with the amended design specifications, for what further
      information would you ask before agreeing to them?


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