Getting through DFM Quickly with your Supplier

Jared Haw
Jared Haw
4 November, 2022 | 5 min for reading
Getting through DFM Quickly with your Supplier

If you have received pre-orders for your product before production has launched, you will want to navigate into production as smoothly as possible. However, it does not seem to ever happen. You are left frustrated that you have pre-orders with no product to show for it. One step to help transition smoothly into production is to start design for manufacturing (DFM)

In this post, we are going to assume you have pre-sales but do not have a product that is ready for production. We will look at the steps you have to take in order to launch your product as quickly as possible. More specifically, we will look at how to communicate with your contract manufacturer (CM) in order to quickly launch your product. 

Why DFM?

The role of DFM is very important. It takes the design you have and optimizes it for production. If you have pre-sales then you will want to expedite this process as quickly as possible without jeopardizing the quality. 

If you have already evaluated your CM then it works well to have them support you with DFM. Most companies prefer their CM to support DFM because they are the ones who are building your product. Since they are the ones building it, they have the best understanding of the machines, materials, and assembly steps that will be used. 

When your CM looks at DFM, they usually look at the following:

  • Part optimization 
  • Tool & Die Design
  • Quality
  • Price

All of these things need to be looked at to ensure you have a successful product launch. Skipping one of four items will lead to quality problems, pricing issues, or extended lead times.

How to Get Through DFM Quickly 

DFM is not something you can rush. However, you can improve the efficiency of this in a few ways. These steps are not industry-specific, such as how and when to apply for certificates. However, it will look at the steps objectively and be industry agnostic. 

A Smooth Transition of Data

When you start the DFM project with your CM, you will need to hand over all of your product data. This can be a bit daunting at first. It might feel a bit like a data dump. However, there are some steps you can take to simplify the process a bit. 

One thing you can do is to digitalize the BOM. Digitalizing the BOM helps to lay the foundation for collaboration. Digitalizing the BOM will also provide you with the following:

  • Keeps everyone on the same BOM
  • Tracks the history of changes
  • Sets a workflow for change requests

It is also impossible to dump all of this data on your CM and expect them to fully understand everything that same day. During early DFM, it would also be beneficial to have multiple meetings with your CM to walk them through the product and to set priorities. Just remember, you have been working on this for months or years so it will take your CM time to understand your product. 

Set Priorities

There are certain parts, sub-assemblies, or materials that you and your team have an advantage in. The others might need some help and support. This is where your CM should start. 

One of the most important steps to take early on with your CM is to set the priorities for each sub-assembly. If the priority is low then your CM does not need to concentrate on it. However, if the priority is high then your CM will need to focus their attention on that sub-assembly. 

Setting priorities is important because your CM can focus on a sub-assembly or part that the manufacturer does not need to enhance. This just wastes time. 

Provide your Target Price

Throughout the DFM process, you will need to keep the price in the back of your mind. While quality will always be the most important, the price will also be important since you have pre-sales. Since you have commitments from buyers, you need to keep a very close eye on your price and margins. 

Providing a target price for the entire product and also for each sub-assembly will help your CM to offer support with the price in mind. There is no reason for them to suggest changes that would be 2x your price target. Get aligned quickly with the prices. 

What can you do today?

If you are looking to transition from prototypes to mass production then you need to help streamline the DFM steps. The digital transformation will help you to transform your processes to use digital technologies to keep all of your product data together, manage your revisions and manage an ECR/ECO process. To have a centralized platform that connects your team with your contract manufacturer is extremely important to set up modern digital processes to save time and money. 

OpenBOM is a cloud-based PDM & PLM platform to manage your engineering and manufacturing data. Companies from startups to Fortune 500’s use OpenBOM to create a centralized database to bring in, store and manage their manufacturing data. With this infrastructure, users also use OpenBOM to streamline both their change management and PO processes.

If you need to improve the way you manage your data and processes, share data instantly, or collaborate with contractors and suppliers. contact us today for a free consultation


Jared Haw

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