The increasingly competitive marketplace, with highly demanding customers and shrinking product development cycles, compel organizations to streamline product development and boost product performance while simultaneously drive down their internal costs. Thus resources (cost, budget, etc.), scope (features, functionalities, etc.) and schedule (time and prioritization) become equally important parameters of the project management triangle.
Nevertheless, most design teams still approach product-development tasks with several unstaged iterations. Often, these iterations are not fully aligned with the broader business strategy, and different targets (KPI) are adopted for design, manufacturing, and supply chain teams.
The challenges of product design
An initial best guess is refined through rounds of engineering analysis and interpretation. Each iteration requires effort - and costs money - and the resulting design is often suboptimal and quite “close” to base-case assumptions. The sheer scale and complexity of industrial processes make cost reduction with quality retention difficult to attain and consequently achieving financial targets along the way can be a struggle.
In Design-to-Cost (DTC), product development and production costs become systematically part of the extended requirement specifications.This enables innovative product designs while slashing development costs starting from early design phases, throughout the entire product development cycle.
A multidisciplinary framework, which integrates simulation throughout product life cycles, from ideation to virtual testing to operation, tightly integrates otherwise isolated process of design and cost engineering from detailed information, up to the object level.
The impact on engineering performances and costs of alternative materials, methods and technological processes is evaluated for design-to-manufacturing, design-for-assembly and design-for-reliability standpoints. In this way, it is possible to speed-up the identification of the most profitable solutions and reduce re-engineering.
Design-to-Cost and Multidisciplinary Design Optimization strategies
On top of this, many more configurations and operational alternatives can be explored (estimated and compared) in less time, efforts and costs thanks to automatic Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) techniques. MDO adjusts and tests features and compares performances without manual interaction, and, resulting designs deliver favorable combinations of attributes, even non-intuitive ones.
MDO can truly boost performance and reduce time-to-market, especially when applied at scale as an integral part of product-development processes based on Desig-to-Cost.
We know that acquiring the right software tools is only part of the solution, and that this new approach also requires investment in education, organizational and cultural changes, especially with regards to collaboration across different departments.
A right technological partner, able to understand the unique challenges faced by each organization in each specific industry, can strongly facilitate this process. This partner will support and coordinate IT functions and other stakeholders when adopting state-of-the-art practices and meshing MDO approaches into existing engineering processes, data platforms, and toolchains.
Our track record shows that several leading companies, ranging from automotive to aerospace to sporting goods, have reduced component cost by 6 to 20%, component weight by 10 to 50%, and development time by 30 to 50%.
For those willing to commit, appropriate Design-to-Cost and MDO strategies will result in less operating expenditures and a shorter time-to-market, while fulfilling market goals by retaining and often improving the quality of final output.
If you are interested in learning more about Design-to-Cost and MDO strategies to find out how to apply them to your design process, contact us, one of our experts will answer all your questions.