Augusto (Augie) Picozza is no stranger to the challenges of industrial design. He has been doing it successfully for world-renowned household brands for over 35 years. We recently caught up with Picozza to get his unique take on Designing for Manufacturability as well as product development and manufacturing problem solving.
Question #1 What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an industrial designer?
A: Design is more than just format and configuration; it’s also about functionality and usability. It’s important to look at a solution holistically, from every possible angle. Unless you dig deeper to view all sciences involved, discovering various answers to a design challenge, you might miss an opportunity to be truly innovative. When designing for manufacturability, attention to detail is primary, however, we still need to be sure that our designs perform in a range of applications. Otherwise, we are just creating dysfunctional art.
Question #2 Do you have any examples of solutions that successfully overcame initial challenges like this?
A: One past example had to do with finding ways to keep foods from spoiling, or keeping them fresh longer. Although it is common knowledge that chilling is an effective manner, it may not be the only science for the application in hand. How does vacuum, pressure, gas environments (as well as others), play a role in possible options? A deeper dive can open up opportunities to a much more innovative and impactful solution than the obvious.
Another example demonstrates manufacturer initiative. We had a very form driven, all polished stainless solution for a toaster that traditionally would be assembled as three main parts (a clam shell and top). However, our supplier surprised us with a bladder formed one piece structure. We never calculated for this. The key learning…truly understand processes available and design to the best advantage.
Question #3 How important is collaboration with engineers when designing?
A: It’s extremely important. In fact, I view innovation as being rooted in the transfer of knowledge. It’s building on other people’s ideas and being curious about how to make them better. We need to challenge assumptions, break the rules and see if we find a better way to achieve the results we’re looking for. When working with a team, we have the freedom to explore every angle, utilizing our individual excellence in collaboration towards a common goal. Each team member has an obligation to perform to their highest level, in support of one another, not in adversary to one another.
Question #4 What do you look for in a manufacturing partner?
A: Experience, Creativity and flexibility - someone who’s able to break the rules and find different ways to get something done. And the collaboration has to go both ways. As designers, it’s our responsibility to consider manufacturing limitations and challenges, as well. In the end, someone will have to use the product we are developing and we can’t lose sight of the end-user-experience throughout the process.
Question #5 What happens when something appears to be un-makeable?
A: There are lots of ways to proceed, but it requires going back to the premise and starting from there. Often, it will require a redesign, reconsidering new materials or geometries to find another way to make it work. That’s the evolution of the problem-solving process. Sometimes we can’t account for the way a material might react in every application, and if it performs in an adverse way, then it’s back to the drawing board and we try it again. Having alternate options in the beginning and prototyping often are good tools to avoid dead ends.
Augusto Picozza has been managing design for 21 years at Jarden Consumer Solutions and now serves as Director of Industrial Design for the US, Canada and Latin America regions, in Boca Raton, Fla. At Jarden, he designs products for world-renowned brands such as Sunbeam, Mr. Coffee, Oster, Crockpot, FoodSaver & more. Previously, he had served 14 years as Industrial Designer for Tupperware, where the last 5 years were as Director of Design for Tupperware’s Asia-Pacific Group. He received a BS in Industrial Design from the University of Bridgeport, with an Electrical Engineering minor from the University of Connecticut.