I think there are two different discussions here. Rob and tekochip ended up discussing how features do (or don't) end up in a product. But the missing magnet is not a feature: it's a design flaw. Jim and I were talking about what are, in effect, organizational structures that can blur the lines between brands, in the context of situations that dilute responsibility for product QA and testing and lead to the problem discussed in the article, the design flaw of the missing magnet.
So that means they are trying to anticipate features their customers will desire before their customers are able to articulate that desire. Are the engineers involved in the process to determine what features to develop?
In my experience Marketing writes the specification of what the device does and Engineering determines how to make the product. Features don't come from Engineering they come from Marketing. Certainly, there is a relationship between the two departments and a product benefits from technical and non-technical people brainstorming on what to include in the latest widget, but the specification on what a button does and where the button is located comes from Marketing.
Is that common, Tekochip, that with retail products marketing makes the final decision? On what basis would they make the decision? Seems the needing it out in the market is not a sufficient reason to make a determination that the product is OK to produce ship.
Perhaps you're right, Tekochip. Yet sometimes it doesn't seem like they've tested their systems sufficiently. Sometimes it seems they haven't worked out all of the quality issues with their equipment. Otherwise there would be no Made by Monkeys column. It could be that manufacturers have worked out most of the bugs, and then faulty components lead the system to fail.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.