Design For Manufacture and Assembly


The decisions you make can cost you. Whether your goal is cost leadership in your industry or differentiating your products from the competition, you can achieve a sustainable competitive advantage when product sourcing, manufacturing, and design decisions are based on early cost knowledge that you can count on.

If your goal is to improve your products without increasing your costs, then the lack of cost detail can really hold you back. Product developers often find themselves relying on historical manufacturing and assembly costs recorded for previous or similar versions of a product, for example, or on supplier best estimates. Usually, designers have no way of accurately quantifying whether the specific innovation they are contemplating will increase or reduce overall product cost.

The Design for Manufacture and Assembly suite of software gives you tools you can use anytime during the product development lifecycle to analyze and understand the costs to manufacture and assemble your products. From the purchase of parts from your supply chain to the earliest conceptual stages of design, DFMA software equips you with quick and accurate cost information. The software provides a way to work creatively and objectively with your suppliers to find new avenues for improving design efficiency and profitability. During the development stages of a new product, cost and cost drivers certainly demand careful consideration. Yet they tend to be neglected, especially when designers lack a reliable method of managing and understanding them.

Getting started with DFMA is as easy as determining the level of involvement you decide to commit to DFMA.  The quickest level of DFMA involvement is to immediately begin cost studies of parts that you are currently purchasing from your supply chain.  The next level is to conduct cost management examinations of your parts and products currently in production.  The highest level of DFMA involvement of both your design and manufacturing organizations--with the most potential for dramatic cost savings--is the use of cost information and product simplification during the early development of your next generation of products.

Once your design is complete and it's time for purchasing to work with suppliers, the should-cost approach of DFM Concurrent Costing becomes invaluable. Purchasing and supply chain management have a unique advantage with the knowledge of a costed bill of material that has true science behind it. Each part description can include a breakdown identifying what the setup, material, process, and tooling costs should be. The purchasing engineer and the supplier can then begin to facilitate discussions about predicted cycle times and costs, rather than get bogged down in arguments over margins and profits.

The potential for cost reduction continues when you select the optimal material and manufacturing process for each part in your design. Using Design for Manufacture (DFM) software tools, you achieve a thorough understanding of the primary cost drivers associated with manufacturing your product – and establish a benchmark for what your product "should cost." Central to the should-costing approach is accumulating real information about manufacturing costs and noting where specific costs arise in your design. Large costs in product development are associated with design manufacturability, so sharing should-costing information with suppliers can make your collaboration more fruitful.

The cost models in DFM Concurrent Costing software guide you through an assessment of alternative processes and materials and provide cost information for the bill of material. Costs update automatically as you determine tolerances, surface finishes, and other part details. Gradually, as you choose effective shape-forming processes and consider how to modify part features to lower cost, your product becomes more optimized.

During the early stages of design, control of part count is paramount to maintaining cost targets. Design for Assembly (DFA) software tools help you simplify products by focusing the attention of design teams on part count and part count reduction. Product simplification is achieved through the application of our industry-tested minimum part count criteria. The analysis allows you to determine the theoretical minimum number of parts that must be in the design for the product to function as required.

When you identify and eliminate unnecessary parts, you eliminate unnecessary manufacturing and assembly costs, along with “downstream” costs associated with warranty and service, engineering change orders, and utilization of factory floor space.

Suppliers are a rich source of feedback during product simplification, particularly if one of your options is to consolidate multiple parts into one part with multiple features. As a design matures, DFA tools help avoid part proliferation and ensure that costs do not creep back into the product.

DFMA Software Products 

DFMA software is a combination of two complementary tools, Design for Manufacture (DFM) and Design for Assembly (DFA):

DFM software allows you to quickly estimate the cost of manufacturing your product, and provides an easy method for comparing “what-if” analysis for alternative manufacturing processes and material selection.
Click here for more info on DFM software

DFA software is used to reduce the complexity of a product by consolidating parts into elegant and multifunctional designs resulting in significant cost savings.
Click here for more info on DFA software