It is intuitively obvious that if something is designed up-front to make it easier to manufacture, it will cost less. This is one of those acknowledged truths—akin to a law of physics—that we knowingly repeat. Over 30 years ago, the Air Force published a “guide to producibility” in one of the earliest attempts to define methods and processes for achieving design for manufacturing (DFM). Yet, we still read annual reports from the GAO that military programs are overrunning their costs by substantial amounts.
Based on all of this history, three questions need to be asked:
1. Why is the seemingly simple concept of design for manufacturing so hard?
2. Are all of these high sounding concepts for achieving DFM just so many passing fads?
3. If we really are serious about DFM, how can we make it happen?