This is what Design Engineers will take away from Dr. Anderson's DFM seminar and be able to apply right away either individually or in a team context including:

• Learning dozens of design guideline presented for part design/assembly and assuring quality and reliability by design.

• How to learn information about relevant manufacturability challenges and solutions from people in Manufacturing, Quality, Procurement, and those familiar with customers, field performance, and reliability.

• How to learn lessons from previous/similar projects using lessons learned techniques: teams or individual engineers can look up data (such as change orders), investigate issues, and ask information about the three lessons-learned categories: product development issues (firefighting, change orders, hard to launch, ramp delays, etc.); factory issues (fabrication, assembly, build time, failures, rework, scrap, etc.), and field issues (reliability and performance).

• How to work with Manufacturing Engineers to design parts for the optimal manufacturability and compatibility with factory processes while concurrently engineering fixturing, tooling, and procedures.

• How to work early with purchasing people to select parts and materials to maximize quality and availability while assuring the desired functionality.

• How to work with Procurement and suppliers to thoroughly explore off-the-shelf part opportunities before arbitrary decisions preclude their use.

• How to work with vendor/partners to jointly design custom parts for the best manufacturability, quality, delivery time, and the lowest total cost.

• How to coordinate an Engineer’s design efforts with other adjacent parts, the part’s subassembly, and the overall product.

• How to maximize synergies like optimal interfaces, modularity, and part commonality.

• How to apply creative techniques for more innovative results.

• Why at the above methodologies will result in quicker design completion, improve the chances of working right-the-first-time, and minimize later firefighting and change orders.

• Why doing the above methodologies will enhance an Engineer’s career with better results, higher proportion of rewarding design work and less firefighting, less distractions on the next project, better results on subsequent projects, and ultimately better assignments and more promising career opportunities.

• Know how to be a good project team leader, who ensures the team follows all of these principles.

Further, as the company implements other seminar recommendations, the design engineers will find the following tasks will be easier and more effective:

Quickly finding standard parts. Until parts are standardized, parts that have been used before should be immediately listed so engineers can quickly find them and will not be adding “new” parts when equivalent (or better) parts are already in the system.

Automatically find parts with the lowest total cost, when the raw part cost is combined with that part’s material overhead, which can be one-tenth for readily available standard parts.

Reduce pressure to change parts to “save cost” and avoid the extra efforts required to make the change and deal with the effects that “always degrade both product and process performance” in Toyota’s experience.

Benefit from more available help from others to do all the above steps when the company better prioritizes projects to focus on the most profitable projects.

Better concurrent engineering when manufacturing are readily accessible as opposed to offshoring when manufacturing and engineering people are not working at the same time.


Managers and Executives will learn the following take-aways by attending the first morning (along with the rest of the class) to support the engineers tasks cited above.

Resource Availability

Understanding the resource availability challenge. Whether products are developed in multi-functional teams or by networked individuals, all design engineers must practice concurrent engineering by meeting early and often with manufacturing engineers, purchasing agents, and people who understand the causes of problems regarding quality, reliability, field performance, and any customer or user issues. For this to happen, all these resources must have enough open bandwidth to be available to help designers and not be too busy fighting daily fires and writing urgent change orders.  Without the availability to offer this help, design engineers will do "open loop" designs and throw them over-the-wall to Manufacturing.

Understanding the resource availability solutions. Senior management must ensure that "multi-functional" people are available early either in formal teams or available to help individual engineers make their designs manufacturable. Otherwise, support people will be too busy trying to fix manufacturability problems (never really successfully), which will make them even less available from the next projects. The seminar will show many ways to make these people available, even as the company shifts from the all-to-common back-loaded model to proactive concurrent engineering interactions up-front. One of the effective ways to do this, and ensure design success, is to prioritize product development efforts and focus on the most profitable projects, which will need total cost measurements to calculate or estimate true profitability. 

Another effective practice is avoiding using up resources trying to reduce cost by change-order after design (except for truly low-hanging-fruit) because cost is designed in, hard to remove, and attempts may raise other costs (like quality costs) and "always degrade both product and process performance" as the seminar best practices will show. Most of the other resource availability techniques focus on eliminating corrective fire-fighting and change orders by  ensuring enough focus for thorough up-front work (next).


Understand the Paradox about time-lines. The paradox of product development is that rushing the early work delays the ramp to stable production, customer acceptance, or the "time to revenue" when sales will pay off the product development effort and manufacturing investments. These must be the metrics for product development efforts, not "release" to manufacturing, which encourages throwing it over the wall "on time," ready or not.

Learning how to accelerate the time-to-revenue. Thorough up-front work is the key to the quickest time to revenue, because that is when design engineers have the opportunities to:

• understand lessons learned and avoid repeating problems that occurred on past projects.
• work with operations people to optimize manufacturability "right the first time."
• concurrently engineer fixtures, tooling, and manufacturing procedures.
• work with quality/reliability engineers to develop quality strategies and design in quality and reliability.
• work with test engineers to develop test strategies and ensure test access.
• work with Procurement to (a) ensure part availability throughout the life of the product and (b) select off-the-shelf parts early before arbitrary decisions preclude there use.
• work with vendor/partners who will help design the part and its tooling, which will save cost and time, while helping to ensure performance.

Another reason to encourage thorough up-front work is because that phase is the biggest determinant of cost (next)


Learn how to minimizing Total Cost.
The prerequisite is to quantify all costs and then design to minimize all those costs.  Instead of trying to remove costs after design, low-cost product development is accomplished by actually designing low cost products by techniques taught throughout the course. The key methodologies are presented at the article “Designing Low Cost Products.”

call Dr. Anderson at 1-805-924-0100 to discuss implementing these techniques or e-mail him at with your name, title, company, phone, types of products, and needs/opportunities.

Contact Dr. David M. Anderson, fASME, P.E., CMC
phone: 1-805-924-0100
fax: 1-805-924-0200


copyright © 2014 by David M. Anderson

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