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APRIL 2020 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 29 be determined and described in terms of per- formance or manufacturability. If not addressed in a DFM review on the front end, this type of scenario may be brought up as a cost reduction idea down the line. This can make the manufacturer look good and come across as a proactive stakeholder even though anything corrected down the line in production increases costs by a large factor. Design teams must do a proactive job of engaging and so- liciting a review from the manufacturer, even during prototyping. If you change something early in the concept stage, there's no cost ad- der. If you correct it in prototype, it's a 2X cost adder; but if you have to correct that in pro- duction, it can be an 8X or 10X cost factor, for instance. Shaughnessy: You're managing a series of trade-offs. Dack: Yes. Another example is automated man- ufacturing. Is it better to have it hand-pro- cessed or processed by automation? Automa- tion will save lots of costs if it's done right. However, if it's done wrong, it will cause more problems because it will have to be done by hand. And cost savings are established by con- serving line time. Shaughnessy: Do you typically know the total cost of a design? Can you look at it and say, "Here's how much that design costs?" Dack: I think good business says you count the costs upfront. The cost must be counted before you start any project. A wise builder counts the cost. I can't imagine that a company would have a good business plan without at least es- timating the costs for a build. And often, for EMS companies, that's provided as a quota- tion to the customer, and then the customer can use those numbers to compare with their own estimations to determine value. When you move through the prototype phase and the initial checkout testing phas- es, product testing, consumer testing, agency testing, the assembly will eventually move on to an EMS provider to transfer it onto produc- tion. It is at that point we typically see product building materials loaded into the data man- agement systems of the EMS provider who has far greater purchasing power. In addition to the single customer's engineering design, the EMS provider is building scores of other customers' products and buying parts at a rate that their customers' organizations cannot. Now, the costing game takes on a differ- ent, more aggressive form of costing. To win the business, the EMS provider must not only demonstrate that they can supply the lowest cost, but also provide the highest quality; in other words, the ratio of cost to quality equals value. While sometimes the supplier with the lowest cost wins, some would argue that both customer and supplier win when purchasing value. Shaughnessy: We did a survey recently about design economics, and some designers replied that profitability is primarily a production con- cept, but not their problem. Dack: It's true. On the front end, it's all about performance and meeting the performance specification. I think it's the job of manufac- turing, engineering, and management to real- ize a sellable product. "We made it work. Now, build it and get the cost down." Shaughnessy: How about when the board goes from prototype to production? Dack: Here's a story I tell my CID classes about the availability of materials and prototypes that meet performance with a total disregard While sometimes the supplier with the lowest cost wins, some would argue that both customer and supplier win when purchasing value.

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