Design for Manufacturability & Concurrent Engineering can cut in half the time to stable production, the only time-to-market measure that matters.
The figure below graphically shows a “front loaded” Advanced Model (in green) that was completed in half the time to stable production, compared to the upper graph, which shows Traditional Team Participation (in red) - From the book "Design for Manufacturabililty & Concurrent Engineering, 20101.
The product development benchmarking reported by Womack, Jones, Roos in the first lean production book, “The Machine That Changed the World, The Story of Lean Production,” summarized the difference between the best and worst product development practices they encountered.
This comparison between the best and the
worst coupled with the author’s experience with companies practicing both of
these extremes inspired the following plot of team participation over time (with
colors matching the Womack quotes), which graphically shows this vivid contrast
between what will be designated “traditional” and “advanced” models.
By the time cost estimates are generated, word gets out that the cost is too high, so then there is a cost reduction program. But, it will be difficult to reduce cost at this stage, since 60% of cumulative cost is committed in the architecture stage. After the above redirections and delays, the project is now behind, so the schedule needs to be “accelerated.” This is so common that one product development book even has a chapter titled, “Through Money At It” based on the thinking that time is more valuable than money at this point.
Then come the prototype surprises, which are the inevitable consequences of an incomplete team, cumulative arbitrary decisions, and failure to address all the design considerations. Work then proceeds after many fire-drills to try to correct problems and get the prototype to work. Of course, one prototype is not a statistical significant sample, so real life production problems could be worse indicated by a prototype.
Then the typical project starts to consider DFM only as production ramps approach. If DFM was not designed early in the product, it will probably be very difficult to make the product manufacturability through changes at this late a date (Murphy’s law of product development). Faced with the formidable scope of implementing DFM by change order under intense time pressures, only the easy changes are pursued and production soon begins on a product with questionable manufacturability.
As the product goes into production,
manufacturability shortcomings manifest as painfully slow ramps, sometimes
taking months to reach the volume production target. Manufacturability problems
also show up as poor quality and disappointing productivity which may take even
longer to attain acceptable levels. Not only do these delays and shortcomings
disappoint customers, but they also consume a great deal of resources –
resources that should have been utilized more wisely at the proactive beginning,
not the inefficient reactive end of the project. This, or course, emphasizes the
importance of measuring time-to-market to the time of full stabilized
production, instead of first-customer-ship, which is meaningless as a measure of
time-to-market – the factory could build three and ship the one that works!
In the Advanced Model, all the relevant specialties are present and active early. If each team member has a versatile background and can represent multiple specialties, then the team would be smaller and easier to manage. The complete team is formed at the very beginning to simplify concepts and optimize product architecture. In addition to the full-time core team are vendor-partners, consultants, and part-time specialists for specific tasks such as various analyses and regulatory compliance.
The activities start with a methodical product definition. After the Architecture Phase is thoroughly optimized, the remaining workload actually can drop off because: (a) many tasks may be completed; (b) the off-the-shelf parts selected avoid the associated design efforts; (c) vendor-parners help design parts or actually design parts entirely; and (d) previous modules can be utilized or the design of new modules can be shared with other projects.
The result is that the volume ramp is
completed quickly. Similarly, normal quality and productivity targets are
reached rapidly. One important result is the ability to cut in half the real
time-to-market as measured to stable production. The other equally important
result is that the cost of engineering resources (the areas under either curve)
is half compared to the traditional model.
Scheduling for Thorough Up-Front Work
Significant reductions in the real time-to-market (time to stable production) is accomplished by thorough, early optimization of the conceptual/architecture phase as shown by Figure 3-1 in Dr. Anderson's DFM book:
The projected 50% savings in the real time-to-market is due to early concept/architecture optimization minimizing the need for revisions and iterations and making the manufacturing ramp-up several times faster. Note that the architectural phase, labeled “conceptual design,” went from 3% in the old model to 33% (of the total development time) in the new model, an order of magnitude increase! More thorough up-front work decreases the post-design activities (the revisions, iterations, and ramp-up) from almost three-fourths to less than a half of the product development cycle. It is more efficient to incorporate a balance of design considerations early than to implement them later with changes, revisions and iterations.
Figure 3-1 emphasizes one of the most important principles to reduce the real time-to-market: thorough up front work.
Thorough up-front work includes developing and following design strategies, investigate and develop action plans based on lessons learned, raise and resolve issues early, formulate the off-the-shelf part strategy early before arbitrary decisions preclude their use, and develop strategies for concurrently engineered processing, vendor/partnerships, designed in quality, mistakeproofing (Poka-Yoke), test, supply chain management, customizations, configurations, product variety, and derivatives while developing strategies to do-it-right-the-first-time.
The 2006 book, “The Toyota Product Development System,” emphasized the important of thorough up-front work at the company that some say is four times more efficient at product development. Note that Dr. Anderson's DFM & Concurrent Engineering closely parallels the Toyota Product Development System.
Assuring Enough Resources
1. Teams must insist on, and management must support, a higher proportion of up-front work as shown on the bottom time-lines on both the above graphs.
2. There must be enough people resources available and not drained away by:
1. David M. Anderson, Design for Manufacturability & Concurrent Engineering; How to Design for Low Cost, Design in High Quality, Design for Lean Manufacture, and Design Quickly for Fast Production (2010, 432 pages; CIM Press 805-924-0200; www.design4manufacturability.com/books.htm). Click here for the DFM book description
Dr. David M. Anderson, P.E., CMC
Copyright © 2020 by David M. Anderson