Better Product Designs Make U.S. Manufacturers More Competitive
A new study by Nicholas Dewhurst and David Meeker finds that manufacturers can shave costs from the production process by redesigning products to reduce part counts and labor
By Karen M. Koenig
It may not be necessary to move jobs offshore in order for a company to remain profitable, say Nicholas Dewhurst and David Meeker, authors of "Improved Product Design Practices Would Make U.S. Manufacturing More Cost Effective - A Case to Consider Before Outsourcing to China."
U.S. manufacturers, however, must act soon in order to keep business home, Meeker says. The residential furniture industry, for example, has already lost thousands of jobs - and billions of dollars - to offshore manufacturing, particularly in the wood bedroom furniture sector.
Last year, China shipped $1.16 billion in wooden bedroom furniture to the United States. It has since doubled its U.S. market share to 48 percent, since 2000.
To find out what additional steps woodworkers should take to remain competitive domestically - and issues to be considered before moving to offshore manufacturing - Wood & Wood Products queried Meeker for his insight into the topic. For a copy of the study, visit www.dfma.com
What our study in a nutshell says is threefold: 1) Understand your total cost - all facets - in as much detail as possible; 2) Applying a Design for Manufacture and Assembly approach to redesigning your product may yield significant savings so you don't need to go overseas; and 3) If you do decide to go overseas, make sure you understand all the costs associated with doing that.
Please explain what is meant by "Design for Manufacture and Assembly?" Can you give an example of how a wood component or piece of furniture can be redesigned to reduce part count and cost?
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