A designer is often called upon to support their design choices, especially those that lead to a higher cost of manufacturing cost. The designer will need to be able to help the accountants understand how the design will influence the return on investment. The design process should include qualitative and quantitative unbiased evaluation techniques that will either support or deny the additional costs. The new product design needs to be compared to previous product benchmarks as well as against leading competitors.
Chuck Jones, Cheif Designer, Whirlpool has instituted a standardized company-wide design process that produces measureable results by putting design prototypes in front of customer focus groups and takes detailed measurements of their preferences about aesthetics, craftsmanship, technical performance, ergonomics, and usability. "Whirlpool charts the results against both competing products and its own previous iterations, giving it a baseline of objective evidence from which to make investment decisions." See the full article at Fast Company.