The refinement of design for manufacture: inclusion of process design
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Purpose – There are three distinct functions in the product realisation chain (product design, process design, and process execution) and thus there are two interfaces (product design – process design; process design – process execution) rather than one (product – manufacturing). This fact supports a need to shift from dyadic relationships to triadic relationships and from the traditionally single interface concept of design for manufacture (DFM) to multiple “design for” elements. This study seeks to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach – Through an in – depth case study in an electronics plant and qualitative data analysis, we reveal the existence and functions of these “design for” elements are revealed, and also the link between the implementation of these elements to the levels of process engineering capability. Findings – Proactive and capable process engineering allows improvement of technical coordination among functions. This enables the “design for” mechanisms for both upstream elements (product design) and downstream elements (process execution); this has a positive impact on the performance of product realisation (especially time to market) and thus operational competitiveness.Research limitations/implications – Since this is a single case study, future empirical research with larger sample sizes should provide further validation of these findings and demonstrate better generalisability of developed concepts. Practical implications – This paper highlights several initiatives, conceptually linked to the appropriate “design for” elements, which may be applied in manufacturing settings to support product realisation objectives. Process design, as a significant and proactive intermediate component, should be given sufficient attention and investment. Originality/value – The study expands the existing DFM concept to several new “design for” concepts and discusses some implementation-related issues.
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