Design Optimization and Manufacturing Cost Reduction
Posted Thursday, December 8, 2011 by Don Kapuscinski
Many points affect the design of a product including the function of the product; the complexity of the product; the time to get it to market; product design, engineering, and tools used; the experience level of the staff producing the final product; the environment the product is being manufactured in; product competition in the market; and of course product manufacturing costs. Design for manufacturing centers on a group of skilled workers with various specialties working as a unit on design and cost optimization. One course of action in cost control is to ensure that a design is not overly complicated. The more complexly a product is designed with and the more parts that it needs, the more expensive it gets to produce. There is a direct correlation between cost and having to produce more pieces for a product. Costs increase if a product must be kept in stock in case of a break down, for example. Using off the shelf or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components in designs is allows for efficiency in the time it takes to design
since the design of the off the shelf component is already complete and the suppliers are experienced in their product. The suppliers will continue to improve upon their product and can also be used as a resource. Using off the shelf components allows costs to manufacturers to be lessened since there is not a large inventory of a diverse amount of parts. Design simplicity is the best way for engineers to keep costs at their lowest.
Manufacturing is often outsourced to another location, thus causing a loss of cost control for the outsourcer. That is why it imperative for the design team and manufacturing to be collocated. The design team needs to have a firm grasp of how the manufacturing process works so that it can find ways to reduce costs. Outsourcing is done primarily to cut costs but other problems can happen such as the slowing of product delivery to the end user. Looking at customer needs may lead to finding ways to cut costs such as finding that a less expensive, alternative material would be a viable choice in manufacturing a product for them. Another cost-cutting method is to work with another company to get a supply for both companies at a bulk discount. Communication with companies and customers is the only way to be able to take advantage of these cost-cutting opportunities. Another cost saving mechanism is that materials should be chosen that are compatible with the processes that will be used in the manufacturing environment and are compatible with the design of the product to be manufactured.