XYZ Inc. Project

XYZ Inc. Project

Suppose that you will start working in a project with XYZ Inc. From the first two meetings with the company, you gathered the following information.

XYZ Inc. manufactures several high precision molded parts for pharmaceutical companies. They identified that the lens case assembly has one of the highest levels of scrap. The current cost of the lens case assembly scrap is $6,000 per month. In order to achieve their goals of their current strategic plan, the company is interested in increase manufacturing yield and efficiency by reducing the level of this scrap. In specific, by December 4, 2020 they want to reduce the assembly scrap rate by 20%. Moreover, they want to reduce the costs resulted from scrap waste from $6,000 to (at least) $5,000. The assembly process of this product is made after molding and before welding, so you may need to include this two processes in the project. Since this is a regulated environment, they need to keep ensuring that the process meets the quality standards and does not shift over time.

1. As your first draft, state the:

 – problem statement (at least 2 sentences) (10 points)

 – business case (at least 2 sentences) (10 points)

 – SMART objectives (at leat 2 sentences (or bullets)) (10 points)

 – scope (at least 1 sentence) (10 points), and

 – possible key metric(s) (at least 1 sentence (or bullet)) (10 points).

Note that you will probably need more information about the project to successfully complete these parts, but you are generating just your first draft with around 2 sentences for each part.

2. List two action items from your “to do list” that you would like to accomplish in your next visit to the company in order to complete your Define phase of the project. Just list them, you don’t have to actually do them. Example: 1. Outline general steps of the lens case process using a Process Flowchart; you may use this example as one of your two action items. (10 points)



Define the Problem

1.  Uses example of creating a box for a client and not identifying all the requirements

2.       SIPOC – – Example of filing your taxes – shows exactly how to complete the chart starting with the process column

3.       Project  Define Example – – First 6:29 minutes.


problem definition states the design objective in one to three clear, concise sentences. For example, the problem definition addressed by Orville and Wilbur Wright at the turn of the 20th century was design a manned machine capable of achieving powered flight.

This problem definition tells us that they wanted to design a flying machine subject to two constraints. First, it must a carry a person, which rules out model aircraft. Second, an onboard power source must be used to take off, which eliminates the possibilities of leaping off a barn with handheld wings and lighter-than-air craft such as a hot air balloon.  The problem definition is constructed in response to an expressed need. Failure to identify, understand, and validate the need, prior to designing, is one of the most frequent causes of failure of the entire design process.

The customer’s statement of need does not typically take the form of a problem definition. For example, consider the following statement of need from a fictitious client:

Need: People who work at the Empire State Building are complaining about the long waits at the elevator. This situation must be remedied.

An engineer might translate this need into the following problem definition:

Problem Definition: Design a new elevator for the Empire State Building.

But, is this really a good problem definition? Is the main concern of the management at the Empire State Building to reduce average waiting times or to eliminate the complaints? When turning an expressed need into a problem definition, it is important to eliminate assumptions that unfairly bias the design toward a particular solution. A better, less-biased problem definition might be the following:

Improved Problem Definition: Increase customer satisfaction with the elevators in the Empire State Building.

This would admit such solutions as a mirror on the elevator door or free coffee on the busiest floors.

As another example of an inadequate problem definition, consider the following: Design a device to eliminate the blind spot in an automobile. This proposed problem definition also contains an assumption that prematurely limits the designer. The word device rules out one solution that achieves the design goal (eliminating the blind spot) by simply repositioning the front and side mirrors.

A third example occurred in a design competition named Blimp Wars (see Figure 18.1). The goal was to design a system to retrieve Nerf® balls from an artificial tree and return them to the blimp base. Inclusion of the word blimp in the problem definition biased the students toward blimp designs. The alternative of an extendable arm that spans the distance between the blimp base and the target balls was not considered.

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Figure 18.1. Blimp Returning to Base after Retrieving Ball from Tree on Left

18.3. List of Specifications

After translating the need into a problem definition, the next step is to prepare a list of specifications. The list of specifications includes both “demanded” design characteristics that must be present for the design to be considered acceptable and “wished for” design characteristics that are desirable but not crucial to the success of the final design. It is the usual practice to classify each specification as either a demand (D) or a wish (W). Don’t confuse the two. If you treat a wish as if it were a demand, your design may become more complicated than is necessary.

Whenever possible, use numbers to express specifications. For example, instead of merely requiring that weight must be low, state, “Weight must be less than 10 pounds.” Sometimes, use of numbers is impossible. A quality such as “aesthetically pleasing” is difficult to quantify. However, use numbers wherever possible, even if at this early stage they seem like guesses. The numbers can be refined later on, as the design begins to take shape.

The specifications should be solution independent to avoid bias. For example, if you are designing a small mobile device, requiring that “the wheels must be made of rubber” biases the design in two respects: in the use of wheels and in the choice of materials. Such decisions are reserved for later in the design process, after careful consideration of alternatives.

Specifications come in the following categories:


o   Performance

o   Geometry

o   Materials

o   Energy

o   Time

o   Cost

o   Manufacture

o   Standards

o   Safety

o   Transport

o   Ergonomics