This paper explores design for manufacturability using several scholarly journal articles and books from different sources and industries. It starts by examining the definition of design for manufacturability as it pertains to managers of supply chains. The paper then discusses a fundamental topic that provides a foundation for learning design for manufacturability: the principles of design. The next section of this paper outlines the benefits that design for manufacturability has if a company chooses to implement it into their operations. Following the benefits of design for manufacturability are several key guidelines that will give a company the best chance for success while using design for manufacturability. The tools used in design for manufacturability are discussed in the next section of the paper. The drawbacks to design for manufacturability follow the discussion of the tools used. Finally, this paper concludes with an in-depth look at the Pro-DFM method of evaluating design for manufacturability in a company.
Definition of Design for Manufacturability
In today’s fast-paced world, every business is looking to have a competitive sustainable advantage over the competition. If a company wants to achieve this, they need to continually reduce costs, improve quality, enhance customer service, and so forth. To survive in the market, products must satisfy and delight customers. In order to do this, design is the most important aspect. By having a good design, half of the customer’s demand has been satisfied. Having a good design can also help enhance quality of the parts used, increase productivity, and reduce costs in manufacturing and assembly processes. Design for manufacturing is a process that is concerned with understanding “how product design interacts with the other components of the manufacturing system and in defining product design alternatives that help facilitate global optimization of the manufacturing system as a whole” while still satisfying customers. (Huang, 2003, P. 1) It encompasses areas such as “mechanicals, enclosure and assembly, thermal concerns, fabrication, component selection and procurement, component assembly, test, inspection, rework and repair, and cost.” (Blankenhorn, 1993, P. 15)
More often than not, employees responsible for product development create designs where the cost cannot be clearly defined or are considered too costly. Studies show that about 70 to 80 percent of the cost of a product results from the design stage. (Venkatachalam, 1992) Design for manufacturability is “a cutting-edge improvement program that can reduce labor, material, and mass requirements without sacrificing the integrity of the product or process.” (Huang, 2003) Principles of Design
Before one can begin to understand the capabilities of design for manufacturability, it is important to understand design as a whole. There are four main decisions that pertain to design: what to design, who is going to design it, how it is going to be designed, and what technology is needed for the design process. (Youssef, 1994) There are several principles of design, as noted by Gerald Nadler, Ph.D., P.E. of the University of Southern California. The first is the uniqueness principle, which states that each design should be treated as a different project than the last. It is this principle that creates breakthrough designs. (McClure, 1999)
The second principle is purpose. The moment that a problem occurs, one should question what the purpose of solving the problem is. By doing this, assurance that the correct problem is being solved is created. Thirdly, the solution-after-next principle follows. According to Nadler, “This sets a problem, and even the purpose, aside for the moment and asks, if you had already arrived at an ideal solution, what new challenges would confront you.” (McClure, 1999) By thinking in this way, the solving the problem becomes a...