The Design for X process (DFx) is one of the cornerstones of productization. For Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), DFx is largely concerned with cost – either directly or indirectly. Design for Manufacture (DFM) and Design for Cost (DFC) are concepts where we look at ways of directly reducing costs of tooling, materials, components and build process.
Design for Testability (DFT), for example, is often about reducing test times and increasing yield, indirectly reducing the Cost of Goods Sold (CoGS).
In other sectors, such as ATEX and medical devices, Design for Reliability (DFR) may be focused on the severity of a failure, but in FMCG it is arguable that this too is mostly about cost. Products are designed to be reliable enough so that they do not need repair within the expected lifetime, but no longer. This reduces the cost of supporting the product and maintains brand equity – assuming that having an unreliable product will hurt sales.
Design for Maintainability (DFMt) is an exception. The last 20 years of short-life electronics has made this a far lower priority. Ever since the first devices with non-removeable batteries, we accept that FMCG products generally last 2 – 3 years, and anything more is a bonus. Instead of repairing, it is often easier and more satisfying as a consumer to simply buy the latest and greatest. This is set to change, however, with pressure and legislation to reduce waste. For companies to remain profitable, it seems logical that products will need to become more expensive if they are to last longer. How this will work is yet to be seen, but DFMt could become the most interesting DFx subject in the near future.
These are just a few of the considerations and decisions that will need to be made to complete your project. If you do not have the experience or know-how to manage this yourself, why not contact Blue Lightning Solutions and ask about our Product Design & Development Service? A service that helps you transfer all aspects of your concept from a prototype to a production-ready product.