Changing Your Manufacturing Strategy

When should you invest in tooling to reduce unit manufacturing costs?

The decision to invest in tooling for the purpose of driving down manufacturing costs is different for every product, company and market.  Quite often, when launching a new product or entering a new market, a risk averse design approach is taken that requires little or no tooling investment.  Three things must be considered when determining how to approach design and manufacturing strategies:

  1. The competitive unit price of the product for the intended market.
  2. The level of risk perceived for entering a new market with a new product.
  3. A tooling investment vs. unit cost at projected product volumes analysis to determine the most cost effective approach.

Need to Reduce your Cost of Goods?

But you don’t have the production volume to invest in tooling.

Sometimes even incremental increases in production volume can open up opportunities for cost reductions.  The following example shows how creative thinking and a hard look at what your customers value can drive down the cost of goods (COGS) with only a minimal increase in production volumes.

Balance

A critical component of effective product design.

  • How do we define balance? 
  • How does a design effort get out of balance? 
  • How can we correct or prevent imbalance in our development process? 

Sometimes we get too focused on a specific challenging problem to solve, and lose sight of the other elements of the product that need to be addressed to be successful. For example, we could be so intensely focused on bringing a new innovative mechanism to market, that we forget to make sure that this new innovation is cost-effective as well as functionally excellent.  A clever solution that people can’t afford is not a balanced design.  It is only a partial solution.  Conversely, we could be so intent on keeping the development and cost of goods (COGS) down, that we ignore key product features that will make it competitive.