March 6, 2009

Electrolux: Integrated Product Development

Electrolux is a global manufacturer of home appliances selling more than 40 million products every year. Since 2001 they have been recognized for their sustainability efforts. They currently use an Integrated Product Development Process to assure that their design teams consider the appropriate factors and address the right concerns while developing a new product.

Understanding that the majority of the environmental impact of a vacuum cleaner occurs during the use phase of the products life, in the form of electricity consumption and related carbon dioxide emissions, they developed a new ultra-efficient motor that uses 33% less energy in their new Ultra Silencer Green vacuum. Electrolux also uses recycling software tools to help product development optimize product recyclability. With this tool they were able to make their new vacuum with 55% recycled content.

Even as the design teams at Electrolux begin a development cycle for a new product, they understand the importance of asking consumers about their sustainability concerns. They have found that, "[their] consumers want appliances that are safe, do not contain hazardous materials, have low noise levels and that are produced under good working conditions." By integrating sustainable thinking into their design process, they have uncovered a new need they are filling in the marketplace.

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