How Complex Products Are Engineered: A Short Guide


Around the festive period, we find ourselves getting our hands on a wide array of products. When Christmas shopping, we’re constantly searching for the gifts that we feel our families will enjoy, turning over different products to determine which are suitable for each family member.

It might not spring to mind as you do this inspection, but many of the products you’re considering purchasing have been through complex industrial engineering processes to end up on shelves. This guide will briefly detail how that works, resulting in packed shelves of excellent products.

Design Stage

All products must pass through a design stage before they are produced en masse. This usually takes place first on a computer, where those experienced in product design will tinker with a blueprint for the product, using all they know about how a product should look and feel to guide the design.

Of course, each product will be designed with different design imperatives, but all of them will have to go through a material design research phase. That means some designers will contact an expert polymer company to enquire about the right types of plastics to use to build the product, while others will look to sources of wood to build out their designs.


Next up, once the design has been checked, edited, and given the okay by the product team, it’s time to build a prototype. This will be a standalone product, in the image of those that might come after it. The prototype is essentially a test case, to see if the designer got anything wrong when they were making the initial product.

Among the tests conducted on these prototypes are stress tests to see if the materials are strong enough to resist falls and drops, and test in use, to see if the product is enjoyable to hold, carry, or use.


This stage is possibly the most important of them all. With the prototype accepted and rubber-stamped, it’ll be time to adjust an existing factory to build different products – the products that have just been designed.

This can take weeks or even months to get right, seeing as every different part of the production process may need to be reprogrammed and tested exhaustively before the production line is let loose to create new products. Over time, though, factories pinpoint the ideal patterns of mechanic production and can produce their products faster and faster.

Packaging and Retail

The final stage of the process is to get the built products out of the factory and into stores around the country, if not the world. This involves packaging the products in such a way that they’re easy to store and transport without breaking any part of them.

It also involves contacting retailers or selling first to wholesalers, who will deal with the product’s lifespan from this point onwards, leaving designers to turn back to their computers and make brand new products to one day bring to market.

These four steps will be encountered by anyone designing and producing a product in the modern world.


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