Design for Manufacturing Process: Avoiding Costly Mistakes

CEO Mitch Maiman recently discussed how to improve the design for manufacturing process at the DFM Summit in Brooklyn. “Design for manufacturability (also sometimes known as design for manufacturing or DFM) is the general engineering art of designing products in such a way that they are easy to manufacture.” (Wikipedia)

In his presentation, Maiman explained how the lack of collaboration between designers and engineers cause costly mistakes and then offered advice on how it can be fixed. The DFM process cannot be properly executed when industrial designers, engineers, manufacturers, and product managers aren’t in sync with each other throughout the process.

This is what each stakeholder thinks in a failed DFM execution:

Industrial Designers say:
“Thinking about cost and manufacturing constraints restricts the range of solutions we can create. The engineering guys do not like to think outside the box of past practices.”

Engineers say:
“The Industrial Designers are usually coming up with ideas that we either can’t manufacture or develop into products meeting our product cost targets or size. We end up having to redo everything in an effort to get close to our product specifications and requirements definition.”

Manufacturers say:
“Once again I am stuck trying to value engineering a product down to a cost target when the design and engineering guys came in with a BOM that is way over target.”

Product Managers say:
“Thanks guys. You have given me a product to take to market that costs too much, is too big, heavy and ugly to compete.”

Fortunately, according to Mitch it does not have to be this way. 

How to Reconnect and Execute the DFM Process Successfully

1.) Get On The Same Page. Early.
The key to reconnecting and having a pleasant product development experience is to get everyone on the same page early. Each discipline must be in communication with the other to provide a seamless, predictable process from the get-go.

2.) Hold Them Accountable.
Make the combined team responsible for the total product result.

3.) Create the Perfect Solution.
It IS possible to realize an aesthetically pleasing, ergonomic product that fits within technical and cost constraints.

4.) Team Members Who Get It.
What it takes – cross-functional management & team commitment that recognizes the value of their neighbors.

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