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Maximizing the competitive power of production equipment starts with product design. For example, is the product designed to be efficiently manufactured--as well as effectively used? Product design needs to be connected with process engineering. According to a recent survey by Boothroyd Dewhurst Inc., companies that stayed focused on reducing part count and assembly time are still reaping huge savings. The survey reveals how broadly the users view software's ability to deliver value beyond the original part-reduction focus. For example, today's design for manufacture and assembly (DFMA) users also identify savings potential ranging from factory floor space reductions to product end-of-life benefits.
But surprise--while surveyed users realize that the software can deliver much more than part-count reduction, actual participation in reduction efforts lags. There is still a misperception that DFMA is just part of the manufacturing process. This optimization concept is much more than that. This analysis capability really has to be ingrained in the total product development and manufacturing process.
Few companies seem to be equipped to track these other cost drivers or even appreciate what they are. Anyone planning a production strategy ought to have this kind of analysis software as part of their agenda. Many users of this optimization software also have reduced their number of suppliers because they have reduced parts. By reducing the supplier base for the right reasons, these companies are able to develop strong partnerships that drive trust and allow suppliers to be open and constructive during the early design stages.
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