The Importance of Product Repairability

The fast-growing stream of  obsolete, but still functional products is becoming an economic and environmental crisis worldwide these days. Whether it is planned by manufacturers or not, a large proportion of unwanted used products are still functional either with or without minor defects. However do consumers tend to repair broken products and reuse them? What difficulties do consumers encounter when fixing their broken products? Do the difficulties during the repair process affect consumers’ future repurchasing decision and the recommendations they provide to others?

Product repairability is a design feature that has been getting attention from communities, especially the remanufacturing industry. While designers may partially consider it at the early stages of design, it is not usually something claimed by manufacturers as a trump card, and therefore, it is not regarded as a policy toward increasing product credibility.

Most people express their annoyance with the high repair charges and count it as the main reason to avoid repairing a failed product. If the repair mechanism is simplified in a way that it can be done even by individual consumers, then it will merely postpone the product replacement. Proper product design seems a promising approach toward empowering consumers to repair. Although design for ease of repair is recommended, it is not always practical due to technology limitations and safety concerns. It seems that the current product designs require significant revisions in terms of repairability. A concern then arises as to whether increasing products’ repairability will benefit manufacturers or just pose extra costs to them?  To answer this question, it is necessary to get the market and consumers feedbacks on the need for repairable products. 

Photo credit goes to ifixit.com

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