Design for Manufacturability/Assembly

Developing a producible product is critical to achieving low costs and high quality. Design for manufacturability (DFM) or design for manufacturability/assembly (DFM/A) must be addressed early in the product development cycle during the concept phase to be truly successful and must continue to be addressed until production begins. DRM Associates, a leading consulting organization specializing in product development, can help with the following nine-step approach:

  1. Initiation of a DFM program begins with management understanding and commitment. This may require DFM a management briefing which we provide. These objectives must be communicated to the rest of the organization. Again, our DFM training can provide an understanding of the concepts and essential elements of a DFM approach. We can help in establishing metrics and determining baseline performance.
  2. DFM process steps must be incorporated into the product development process. We can help develop an updated development process that includes best practices-based approaches to DFM/A and develop supporting work instructions and procedures. We can define roles and responsibilities and help estimate needed resources to support a more comprehensive DFM/A approach.
  3. DFM guidelines must be established based on types of products, parts and materials; types of processes, process capabilities, process cycle times and costs, and tooling costs. We can help organize the needed data gathering, guide this analysis, structure the organization of guidelines, assist with their development, and orchestrate their deployment. Top-level guidelines are described in our DFM/A Guidelines listing. More detailed guidelines need to be developed considering the nature of the product and the company’s and suppliers’ process capabilities. An example of sheetmetal guidelines is shown. We offer a set of DFM/A guidelines that can be licensed as a starting point for an organization to develop it’s own internal set of guidelines.
  4. DFM software tools are useful to evaluate concept and design alternatives and support decision-making. We can help in selecting these tools, adapting them to your cost structure and process capabilities, and defining a process for their use. We can also provide a low-cost design for assembly (DFA) assessment methodology and software with our Product Development Toolkit.
  5. DFM training can be provided to develop an understanding of DFM principles, practices, tools and methodology. Our DFM Workshop is described in further detail.
  6. Design for manufacturability guidance can be provided to a product team as it works to develop its concept and design. We can facilitate the application of DFM; provide specific DFM feedback; and facilitate consideration of design, material and process alternatives. We can help apply Pareto analysis to determine where there is the highest payoff from improving manufacturability.
  7. Supplier involvement in a DFM program is critical since typically 50-70% of product costs are materials. We can work with the materials organization to help structure a supplier involvement program based on DFM, provide DFM training to suppliers, and work with key suppliers to establish a DFM program.
  8. Cost data needs to be developed since cost is a common denominator to measure producibility results across an overall product and across disparate processes. We can help select, implement, and develop product cost models; provide training; organize cost studies; and help validate cost projections.
  9. Monitoring of DFM results is key to a successful program. We can help establish DFM metrics, develop design review guidelines, formalize an overall development process oriented to DFM, and insure appropriate management focus on a DFM program.

For further information, contact Kenneth Crow at DRM Associates