What is meant by Product Architecture?
Product architecture represents the product’s features and functions and also the relationship between the features and functions.
Product architecture is a mapping tool used in product design.
A product’s architecture can be expressed with the help of block diagrams or schematic diagrams. It has nothing to do with the actual physical design of the product.
Types of Product Architecture
There are two types of product architecture: modular architecture and integral architecture.
Modular architecture involves particular functions that are required to achieve the final product objective. This kind of architecture makes modules of the product to work on a specific function. It draws attention to the relationship between product features.
Based on customer requirements modular architecture is a compilation of building blocks of a product that can undergo configuration at any stage.
Modular design helps to create a more polished product. It improves visibility between product features, which helps in rectifications and error management. We can replace any module without affecting the overall design.
This is when components are designed for a specific product. Functions are taken up by range of parts and not drawn up in assemblies. Integral architecture aims at the depths of each feature and its objective covering the relationship between these. Integral design is beneficial in cost cutting.
How to create a product architecture?
Creation of a product architecture has four major steps:
- Make a schematic or block diagram of the product features that clearly expresses them. There are available schematic templates.
- Make groups out of the schematic elements and features. This grouping process is dependent on the type of the product. The focus should be on the relationship between the elements.
- Make a geometric layout of these elements that represent the function and patterns in the product. This way we form the structure of the architecture.
- Connect the different elements by drawing lines. These lines represent the interaction between the elements.
Product Architecture’s Role in Product Development
Product architecture plays a crucial role in product development as it is a representation of the relationship of the product’s features and functions which are the core elements of product development.
It defines the product development process to some extent with its various methods of modular and integral architecture. You can’t really proceed smoothly without having a well defined product architecture.
Product architecture is about planning the product development process in a clear way devoid of unnecessary elements, functions and methods.
Benefits of Product Architecture
- Helpful in cost-cutting and saves time.
- Improved visibility of non-useful objects that shall be replaced or removed.
- Transparency of process that helps in identifying the same type of features
- Enhancement of product’s functional performance.
- Helps in developing a product with a long lifespan.
- You can replace any module which needs correction without altering the whole product.
- Concurrent engineering is possible.
- Customization of the product according to user needs.
- Easy upgradation in the future.
- Helps in creating more sustainable products.
Product architecture examples:
Any product development process will require to form a product architecture, some common examples are:
- Designing – graphic, website or model design.
- Security system, etc.
Product architecture is a layout of the product that establishes or represents the relationship between the product features and functions with the help of drawn up lines and schematics. It is a vital tool in the product development process.
This kind of architecture makes modules of the product to work on a specific function. Then a relationship between the modules and features is drawn. You can replace any module that needs correction without altering the whole product.
There are 4 steps involved in product architecture:
1) Making a schematic.
2) Grouping the elements.
3) Make a geometric layout of the elements.
4) Connect the elements by lines.