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What is 'Design for Manufacture (DFM)'?


Design for Manufacture (DFM) has been around for many years, in other guises such as value analysis or cost reduction systems.

A condition, placed on many contracts with suppliers, is that there is a reduction in selling price, year on year, over the term of the contract. The supplier can achieve this in two ways:

  • reduce manufacturing costs, and/or
  • introduce design changes in the product, with the approval of the customer

DFM normally applies to the initial design of a new product where a methodology is followed to ensure that the product: is easy to manufacture at an economic cost; is built to the required quality and can achieve the required reliability. DFM requires collaboration between design engineers, manufacturing engineers, procurement staff, suppliers and end users.

The two main aspects of DFM are:

  • Parts standardisation, and
  • Parts reduction

Typically, savings are made in areas such as:

  • standardising hole sizes, so as to avoid excessive tool changes
  • rationalising production operations, such as folding
  • standardising fastener sizes
  • using lighter materials in non-structural parts.

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The European Handbook of Management Consultancy, Oak Tree Press, Dublin, Ireland, 1995 (ISBN 1-86076-010-4)

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