Product design specification for artisanal aluminium cookware: a case study of landhies road producers

Author: Nkuubi,, Samuel M K


The paper is a research project report based on a study on product design specification for artisanal aluminium cookware. The study makes emphasis on a case study of foundry and fabrication workshops along the Kamukunji metal work cluster along Landhies road in Nairobi County. Product design specification PDS is one of the core activities in ‘total design’, a method developed by Stuart Pugh to integrate the voice of a consumer in product design decisions. Product design specification is one of the methods employed in tracking the growth of a product using various constraining parameters. The constraining factors include design, product geometry, ergonomics, aesthetics, safety, product environment and product performance issues. The objectives of the study is based on the rational that production of aluminium cookware is done using rudimentary methods that lack controls to ensure quality product designs. Literature for the study was gathered through document analysis from published online journals and books. The sample size for the study was determined as 40 respondents from a target population of 300 registered informal workshop artisans. The instruments that were used in data collection include questionnaire survey, observational forms and checklists and photography. Reconnaissance study was conducted and the preliminary observations determined the structure of questionnaires to be administered. The study was exploratory sequential design that commenced with quantitative analysis expounded by a qualitative follow-up .Qualitative analysis was conducted by using themes derived from the research questions. Results from demographic data on gender distribution, skills acquisition and artisan specialization was presented on a table and analyzed graphically. The study established that product design specification is to a large extent not consciously considered in production of cookware. Design knowledge is mainly recorded in templates and prototypes and is not found in a written project design. This phenomenon compounded by level of artisan’s skill reduces the chances of capturing novel ideas that may have commercial significance thus preventing acquisition of patents. The study recommends an adaptation of environmentally responsible manufacturing to enable cookware products to meet international manufacturing standards. Key