The design for X process (DFX) is one of the cornerstones of productisation. 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 the cost of tooling, materials, components and build processes.
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 areas, such as medical devices or designing for compliance with ATEX regulations, 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 last the expected lifetime without repairs, 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 have accepted that FMCG products generally last two or three 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 model. 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 soon become the most interesting DFX subject.
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 and development service? A service that helps you transfer all aspects of your concept from a prototype to a production-ready product.