Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lifetime Product design ?

A Product being installed in a home built to last a Life Time
Should be designed so it can be used for a Life Time

It happens all too often a couple decides to build there dream home
And they go and select all the items they want from a local builder including lighting, bath and kitchen fixtures. There home is beautiful when done and everything is going fine until 5-10 years down the road something goes wrong with one of the items in the home like the Combination fan and heater in the bathroom. No problem they call the builder who sends by his handy man who informs you the fan manufacturer no longer makes that model but he will try and get something to work in there. Sometimes they find a very good replacement that fits properly many times they do not.
This is especially true when it comes to built in items like whole house music systems and appliances.
Good luck trying to find anything that matches or even looks or works close to what you bought 10 years ago. Expect to have to bust into and patch the walls because the new item will not match to the current size hole that the previous item made.
How many people had thru the wall air conditioners or heaters installed in a bedroom or extra room when the whole house system did not quite do the job ,to only find out 10-15 years down the road when the unit needed replaced all the new units where half the size.
This problem does not just happen in residential settings but in the business world as well with phone and computer systems as well.
It is the same old problem they no longer make that item any more.
And no repair parts are available. The real reason behind this always changing designs is because manufactures want to sell new products and carry only one line and not support older products.
While this is not always true because some times with electronics certain chip sets and components are no longer being made. This is no reason why a substitute can not be found and the new piece of plastic it is put into is big enough to cover an existing hole or mate into an existing system. ATT made the Partner phone system reversible for over 20 years in its product run life.
And there is enough old stuff out there that will be refurbished and phones will available for some time. You can still buy refurbished Merlin phones from almost 30 years ago. And with IP coming into ply while they no longer make partner you can still inter match components. So accolades to Avaya who is the ATT successor to the product line. So if companies like Avaya and Honeywell and many others get it when it comes to longevity and making things easy to change out and update why do others not? Because they just do not care and they produce what they think consumers want instead of listening to the market and that’s why they go down the drain.

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