Design to cost in the mechanical engineering industry

Production does not exist without vision. There is no sustainable industrial drive without attentive evaluation

We have implemented Design to Cost (DTC) within our engineering services: this is a method which supports technical departments with design instrumentation which is able to estimate and, above all, to optimise the industrial costs right from the initial phases of the project.

For our customers, manufacturers of systems and special machinery, reducing industrial costs is always a key factor. Today, indeed, around 80% of industrial costs are already established in the design phase, with the goal of achieving ever-lower production prices, while keeping the product functionality unchanged.

For manufacturers, this means guaranteeing given profit margins, as well as a better competitive position in the market.

Goals of Design to Cost

Our Design to Cost specialists require various tools in order to generate a complete analysis of a project’s cost elements. These factors are able to have an active influence on:

  • Reductions in costs and timeframes
  • Increased quality of the finished product
  • Effective production methods

Design to Cost is not just a method for controlling costs which sets the cost goals to achieve from the outset: it also represents a real opportunity to understand the connections between the customer’s specific requirements, the timeframes and the costs to be borne from the very beginning. Right from the get-go, DTC maps out the relationship between the customer’s requirements/priorities, for custom-made mechanical engineering projects, and the design/cost-reduction considerations, in order to optimise all processes involved in the production. For this reason, we are very careful to find out what our customer’s priorities are right from the outset. We are so attentive to this matter that our technical department is able to identify them even before the customer themselves.

Overall, the aim of Design to Cost is to design with the goal of reducing costs: to assess where the processes are feasible and sustainable for the success of the project. For this reason, our technical department carries out all assessments relating to the costs models and life cycle of a machine. Consequently, we support the management, sales, and design department in their decision-making during the development process of new machines.

Optimisation of processes is a matter of choices

It is even possible that our technical department will take into consideration possible alternatives to the system or the project in order to meet more ambitious cost goals. In the more traditional approach, the focus is always on the performance, the technology in some sectors, and the appearance of the product. In Design to Cost, the cost goals are placed on an equal footing with the other assessments which have an effect on the project.

Subsequently, we analyse the value of the functions which the project must carry out through Value Engineering.

Accompanying the customer through the Design to Cost process

As a matter of fact, without a profound knowledge of the production processes, it is not possible to carry out a reliable assessment of potential cost reductions. You only need think of start-up and equipment costs, the complexity in producing certain complex components, and above all the final assembly.

Cost estimation can take place in various ways:

  • When it deals with mechanical systems which are simple to manufacture
  • A “bottom-up” approach which starts out by estimating all details, trying also to include any non-foreseeable costs
  • When it is based on the experience of equivalent jobs performed in the past
  • Development of parametric models which identify the most important cost factors and which can take into consideration historical, scheduling, or economic and technical assessments

DICO GROUP supports the technical departments of our clients in the internal organisation of any project. We collaborate in order to identify all processes which can be outsourced.

Before beginning prototyping work, we can support customers directly with a technology partner specialised in engineering; a company based next to our plant with over 150 engineers and historic ties to DICO GROUP.

During the prototype assembly stages, we remain in direct contact with our customers and partners in order to ensure that the results to be achieved are shared between the assembly technicians and designers, and to generate suggestions or discussion on potential improvements.

Design to Cost in order to remain competitive in the market

Competitive pressure in the manufacturing sector, combined with the growing complexity of international supply chains, is increasingly driving our manufacturing customers to invest in a modern Design to Cost and Value Engineering strategy. We stand at your side to identify and then eliminate the burdensome aspects in order to allow you to become more competitive in the market.