Currently, the design process utilized by Fisher-Price consists of a flow of ideas handed down to various divisions. The Marketing division begins with a cost estimate and a toy concept. The Industrial Design team adds more detail to the concept through breadboard sessions and sketches. Finally, engineers are involved to add the final mechanical and electrical details. The current process results in redundancy and inefficiency by allowing multiple parts lists to be generated with multiple names for the same component. This makes for an enormous database of parts that designers and engineers have to search through to find specific components, which takes a significant amount of time. In addition, every designer and engineer within Fisher-Price must complete multiple documents pertaining to their product design. These documents contain key information regarding each project and are important for documentation purposes.
In order to eliminate the “non-value added activities”, the team has developed a prototype program, “Product Builder”, which will query the user a series of questions concerning all product definition information needed for their design. These questions will range from high level design requirements, such as age group, and work their way into the specifics of the design, by way of pull-down menus, check boxes, and user-defined attributes. The information, which is drawn from the queries, will be compiled into a standard living document known as the Product Definition document.