SCALABILITY FOR MAJOR PROGRAMS
For global challenges that can get out of control, the world and its people need solutions that are scalable enough to implemented quickly all
over. Here is the big picture way to look at it;
Looking back from a successful future, the
solution would have have been
designed for world-wide scalability
after being designed so well for manufacturability*
that the costs saved range from half
(Section 3.8: Half Cost Product Development)
* All this and more is in the 2020 DFM book described in
this sites book page and the book’s own page on the Publisher’s
methodology below: on Scalable Innovation.
Scalable solutions start with scalability
strategies, that can be implemented all over in months, not years or decades!
These strategics must specify well thought-out plans that will result
Fast development of
Complete supply chains that can scale-up quickly. See: http://www.build-to-order-consulting.com/supply_chain.htm
with widely available raw-materials, ingredients, processed materials,
and scalable parts with scalable supply chains made by scalable
processes (next) all of which will avoid shortages, See the 2020
DFM book Section 126.96.36.199, "Material and Part Availability
Readily available processing equipment and automatic
programmable machine tools that
can be rapidly scaled up.
Processing should not be dependent on scarce "fabs" (that
not scale up semi-conductors and solar-panels); see Section 188.8.131.52. The recent chip
shortages has revealed that 88% of fab capacity is outside the USA.
Similar scalability vulnerabilities exist at the "mega facilities" (that
refine hard-to-find ores and process high-density batteries), 95% of which are outside
the USA. The vulnerabilities you include how much of that capacity will be
really available and if production allocations are going to the same global
crisis as unfriendly country suppliers who control rare or hard-to-find
elements. This site strongly advises not designing anything important
around such potential unavailable sources.
Decision makers and planners should not be counting on technologies
they think they already "have," but were never commercialized.
, and not ever designed for manufacturability
, designed for a scalable supply chain, ( http://www.build-to-order-consulting.com/supply_chain.htm
) and not using those as the foundation for design for scalability.
All research on any of this
needs to be optimized before it is too late,
beginning now with Manufacturable Research, which can started right
way by following the principles posted at https://www.design4manufacturability.com/research.htm
Then, products need to be
for manufacturability and scalability without shortages
in half the time at half the cost
( as taugtht in the webinar: https://www.design4manufacturability.com/advanced_npd.htm
) followed by a commercialization workshop, described at: http://www.halfcostproducts.com/commercialization.htm
Scalable Innovation as Fast as
Scalable Innovation combines the proven pimples of Design
for Manufacturable, as conveyed in dozens of innovative articles on this
site, which include the most comprehensive presentation on Strategy
for this time and the most effective 600 page
book,* which includes the first ever published principles on Scalability
(Section 4.8) and Manufacturable
Research (Section 3.9).
In order to successfully practice Scalable Innovation, projects nee to be
composed of a well educated team that can apply everything learned in the only
book on scalable research (the best of Scalability (4.8) and
manufacturable research (3.9).
Companies endeavoring to do effective Scalable Innovation must practice
Lean Production, which section 4.1 defines as ". eliminating many types
of waste such as setup, excess inventory, . . . ," with most of the
book’s 10 times cost savings come from inventory categories! (Section
3,8). Other practices and policies unacceptable for important projects are
the 12 more counter-productive practices and policies warned against in Section
11.5 in the2020 DFM book. The on-line
version is at: http://design4manufacturability.com/counterproductive.htm
If the company can not do this, then the scalable
project must be spun off as a "profit-and-Loss " center (in Section
184.108.40.206,in the section with Skunk-Works" protection from overhead charges.
Physical segregating is a more obvious means, but may be harder to arrange and
may take longer.
A client case study (in Section A.1.3) presents case
where such a "focused factory" actually resulted in a 30% price
advantage for the isolated operation!
Goals, strategies, and methodologies; from 1.6.4: Management Focus
The ambition of the goal determines
how good the strategy must be and
those determine effective the methodology must be.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming said, “A goal
without a method is cruel.”
A strung team leader (2.5.8) implements the necessary
methodologies in the team (11.7) and leads the multi-functional team
(Chapter 2), optimizing thorough up-front-work (3.2) including optimizing
the concept/architecture while insuring scalability (4.8) without shortages
For the ideal profile for implementing innovative projects,
look to the example of Honda:
"Honda’s criterion for selecting suppliers is
the attitude of their management. As a philosophy-driven company, Honda feels it
is easier to teach product and process knowledge than to find a
technically-capable supplier with the right attitudes, motivation,
responsiveness, and overall competence" (2.3.6).
Update on new causes of lengthy shortage
Un-Scalable processes. Section .8.43 in the 2020 DFM book warns
about specifying all parts that are make on un-scalable
process, especially made in semiconductor "fabs,"
(costing millions and taking years to build), like computer chips and PV
This is even worse when the fabs are moved
off-shore for cheap labor (for automated equipment at that!)
or as a condition for market access because:
First of ll, you lose all the benefits of
Concurrent Engineering when engineering and production
are never working at the same time!
You lose control of the prioritization of
production: yours or someone else!
supply chin is probably not scalable, and even if you
know better, you can’t improve that in your favor, since they changed
all your parts to "covert to local supply," with the
cosequences of inducing hundreds of variables as whodn
graphically in Figure 1.2, which aso degrades quality and delays rams.
Many areas have labor shortages, which can
more easily shut down lines and plants because of:
products not design for manufacturability and
which then resort to the very "un-Lean" practice assigning
one specialized person, who learns how to do each nard-to-build task,
– since labor is so cheap
However, if a critical specialist gets sick,
that whole line goes down, maybe
puling done the whole plant!
PROACTIVE SOLUTIONS (in
For the last point, Lean Production trains the whole work fore to do
all tasks in a "U-shaped line" and then be able to fill in
for any missing worker; this is clled Cross-trainingat
on’t Offshore Production so that you will be able to ensure scalability:
Assure all the benefits of Concurrent Engineering, including DFM, when
everyone in multi-functioal teams is close to being co-located, at least within
a few time-zones.
Close to co-location allows Lean Production, which will, which
can bill to order in a one-piece flow with quality preserved
without inttoducing hundreds of new variables for converting all parts to
local supply than are not scalable or attempts at cost reduction. See article "7
Reasons Why "Cost Reduction" Attempts after Design Doesn’t
For reference, read the original article on On-Demand Lean Production.
If you like that, learn how to Design for Lean Production
and Buid-to-Order at
HOW W TO DESIGN SCALABILITY INTO PRODUCTS
How to avoid shortages by Design
- The team does all DFM
methodologies taught on this site, including selecting parts that
will be readily available for the life of the product.
- Procure parts to assure
availability and avoid shortages:
buy the part that the engineer wants just because it was the
first one that worked, which is the root cause of most availability
everyone should search for ranges of parts beyond the minimum
spec that will usually be much more available and may even have
lower total cost. See Figure 5.6 in the
don't go the Low-bidder
if that is less availability or will at any time cause shortages.
- Select standard
parts available from many generic suppliers, not limited to
"name brands." Don't base part qualification
efforts to just what ever worked in the prototype or helps get
early go-ahead approvals.
Don't waste Scarce parts: Don't
build any scarce part into any product that is going into inventory, or are not going directly to customers, or do not
have as much future as your cash-cows
- For printed circuit "bare" boards design, Section 2.8.2
in the 2020 DFM book recommends to
"endowing" bare (circuit) boards with extra pads, pad
spacing, chip spacing, holes, vias, and traces to accommodate
different components that are larger or have different mating
geometries or orientations." There are parallels that apply
to hardware too.
Why Offshore Causes Shortages
Scalability is first thwarted at the transfer offshore, when all parts are
converted to "local sources of supply" which:
a) In most offshore areas, may not be available
beyond 18 months and may not be scalable.
b) Offshoriing production to
low-labor-rate areas allows hard-to-build production because each difficult
process can be assigned one operator, who has to learn the skills to do
that task. And local work-force disruptions can cause rippling
shortages when each of those specialists are missing.
C) This is especially bad when not practicing lean
production with "Cross Training,"
a Lean Production principle that will ensure that product lines and cells will
continue building high-quality products without delays, even if some workers can
not come to work for a while.
d) Converting all the parts to local supply (point
"a") will introduce dozens of variables that will degrade
quality and delay the initial launch, as shown graphically shown in Figure 1.2
in the DFM book.
See the article: The
Case Against Offshoring; and What to Replace it with.
How to Avoid shortages Now on Existing
- Qualify all good sources of key
parts, including generics.
- Use Product Line Rationalization
to avoid building a scarce part
into any product or variation that this process indicates is
really making less money then the " cash-cows" that
really deserve the valuable
- Prioritize sales right away to focus sales and production
- On-demand production can do this for any operation that
can do Build-to-Order see
web article or the author's second 520 page Build-to
- Production going straight to paying customers instead of
- Sales with the highest demands, margins, and future
- Sales with the fastest supply chain both for all ther parts
and for product distribution for the fastest return
Scalability is a new, unique methodology
and Section numbers refer to the author's 2020 DFM book)
The featured article in the November 2013 in Mechanical Engineering
(the journal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers), titled “Why
Manufacturing Matters,” concludes that scalability leads to the fastest market
leadership and highest profits:
“The companies that scale the latest technologies the fastest
will become the market leaders and reap most of the profit.”
The ASME article also says that scalability of innovation is the key to
“Firms that scale and deploy innovations rapidly
will remain market leaders.”
The Value of
Being able to design scalable products and scale up production quickly is
the foundation for:
• Rapid ramps to stable production, which most of the articles on
this site show how to do.
• Be able to easily deal with surges in product demand,
which can be caused by sudden sales surges from good publicity,
promotions, or simply that the product is a surprise hit.
• Be able to quickly replace obsolete and
or modules (Section 4.9) because of bad performance, quality,
or publicity, recalls, sudden appearance of better rival products, etc.
Cope with supply chain shortages,
which can be avoided by designing for
availability (Section 5.19.2) which is helped by Standardization
5) and automatic resupply techniques (Section 4.2.1).
producing emergency replacement demands from
scaling up new products for very large new markets such
as widespread solutions
to energy and climate challenges.
Growth without limits.
Scalability Product Development
Use Design for manufacturability during manufacturable research
and product design principles (covered in most of this site)
to ensure that products will be able to quickly and cost-effectively scaled up. Here
are the scalability principles:
First question the complexity: ask:
Is the status quo concept based on the usual lab procedures
built with unnecessarily tight tolerances?
Understand all the costs, delays, and effects on Scalability,
Manual operations, which may not be possible at scale because
of cost, quality risks.
- Automation may alleviate cost-per-operation may be
low in high volume with no variety. However, the
investment may be high. Further mass production is not good
at handing variety or disruption. With enough concentrated volume, an automated
line or machine could be dedicated for each version, or batches
could be changed over for inventory. The final irony is that,
if the whole industry is trying to scale up, and there may be a shortage
of specialized automation machines.
Look for Simplicity:
- Are there any inherently simpler concepts? Look for:
- Simple developed concepts a may be available Off-the-Shelf
parts, discussed in Section 5.18 of the DFM
Off-the-shelf parts with wide-spread use will scale
better, especially those that conform to standard
sizes, mounts, and common specs.
Search broadly using the techniques of Figure 5.6
in in the DFM book.
- Theoretically promising technologies could be
commercialized, as specified in the Section 3.10 in the DFM
book or web article on
(Section 3.6) and Brainstorming (Section 3.7) to create
scalable designs that satisfy all of the principles of book
Section 3.3.11 on
of Parts & Materials
Proactively select parts and materials for assured
availability for the life of the product at the highest possible production volumes. This includes
- Avoid quickly nard-to-get parts
from industries that have shorter llfe-spans, lower quality demands,
and obsolescence measured in months, not years. Obsessive pressure
on the cost of BOM line items may cause this. This can be countered
by the many ways DFM can lower many categories of cost.
• Potentially scarce parts, including any that may have to
compete with other application that may also be scaling up, for
instance, for widespread conversion to renewable sources of energy,
electric battery production capacity would be best allocated to electric
cars and roof top Photo-Voltaic panels, instead of storing energy at
wind power and solar PV fields, both of which have better and cheaper
alternatives (pumping water up for hydraulic storage for wind and
Concentrated Solar Power (with heat storage).
• Rare Earth elements,
which, when available, may provide the best
efficiencies, function, or compactness, for instance, the lightest and
smallest motor magnets.
However, scalable design principles would recommend generating "plan B"
contingencies, like providing enough space and weight allocation for
their non-rare-Earth-element magnets.
• Risky Parts should have ample “plan B” replacement available and, if
the placement parts are bigger, there must be enough space for the
replacements. For instance, lithium-ion batteries are the most
space-efficient batteries, but engineers must allow enough space for the large
• Performance premiums. Avoid excessively expensive components that may
cost a high premium for the last few percent of efficiency if this
results in a much higher part cost and be harder to find, just to try
for a slight increase in sales. Rather. the company can use the
principles of this site to
cut 9 categories of cost from
half to 1/10 of the usual cost
Instead, scale products around standard proven off-the-shelf parts
(Section 5.18 of the DFM book ) and
modules that are selected to be readily available throughout the
anticipated life-span of the product. Avoid dependence on parts that are
hard to get, have long lead-times, incur high inventory carrying costs,
or may become unavailable within the life-span of the product.
How to Avoid Running Out of
Ingredients, Reagents, & Consumables
(new for 2021)
To be able to scale into the millions, or eve hundreds of
millions, design your products around
readily available ingredients, reagents, and consumables.
First try generics, which will
probably have the best availability from multiple sources. Plus,
generics always cost less.
If initial searches seem disappointing, then
broaden the search to include "better" or slightly more
expensive results, as recommended in the "how to search" section (
5.19.1) in all DFM book editions.
Commercialization your products. If
some aspects of your existing products, research, patents, or acquired
technology are blocking scalability, they may need to be
to preserve the "crown jewels" and re-design the rest
for scalability and, as a bonus, for manufacturability, which will save so
much cost, it will enable broadening your searches, as recommended above.
Fortunately, for chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and medical products, the
vast majority of ingredients and reagents are not likely to be part of
the crown jewels, so they can be replaced with versions that
will be more scalable, using the criteria presented herein.
(new for 2021
Don’t risk having to
change a regulated product for availability
The same logic applies to any products that were hard to
get to work just right every time in the product is built.
Scalability for certified products. This section is for pharmaceuticals,
emergency medicines, testers, r
medical products, food, essential nutrients and vitamins in addition to
erospace, defense, automobiles, and any
products regulated for all forms of public safety.
All regulated produces must avoid any possibilities of needing to go
through the cost, efforts, and calendar delays of re-certifications for
- Replace anything that is not be available enough
- Replace anything that is unsuitable for any customers or users that
may become apparent when scaling up
- Find substitutes or supplements for processing equipment needed for
capacity. Note that changing to a different, or even an improved,
process may require a re-certification. Some semiconductor
manufacturers have instituted a "copy exact" policy for all
additional processing equipment coming into a "fab."
- Replace parts, materials, or ingredients with cheaper versions
to try to "save cost," which is discouraged in most articles
on this site and most editions of the DFM book,
especially Figure 1.2.
Regulator caveat: Even if you and your supplier claim that these
replacements are "equivalent," it will not be allowed unless the
regulator deems them to be equivalent.
Re-certification strategy. If your product needs to be
re-certified for any reason, then other replacements and changes can be
included as long if they don't cause any new problems of delays. However, if
the replacements are, in fact, equivalent, that may not be a problem.
So everyone on the whole project needs to know this is coming up and
contribute all their inputs.
Manufacturability caveat: Don't
open the flood gates and allow practices counter to good
manufacturability, like changing to "cheap parts" in a futile
attempt to "save cost," which may work enough now to pass a
re-certification test, but may fail or run out of some supplies later.
Proactively doing everything to assure scalability may appear to
raise a few BOM entries for part cost, but following all scalability
principles will save much ore in total cost, especially if any
actions cause product problems or force a re-certification (coming up
Criteria for selection for
For all potential candidates, investigate rank the following:
- current sales volume per year for whatever is close to your
- potential for future scalability: rank using the principles
of this site; a good sign would be having plans, or, at least
studying articles (like this one) or books on scalability, like
Section 4.8 in the 2020 DFM book
- projections for competitive demand or other potential
- identify suppliers that service multiple markets, especially
markets whose demands are out of phase from yours.
- rank the number and size of manufacturers making what you
- business model compatibility: mass production vs flexible
Build-to-Order; ERP ordering built for inventory vs
spontaneous pull signals; susceptibility to bottle-necks
to scalability [in a forthcoming section]
Scalability and Concept/Architecture
Architecture must be also structured so that scalability is never
limited by shortages of all consumables needed by the product in
- The best architecture for scalability would not need any
consumables at all, and if this is important, then research
efforts should start by finding or devising that, being sure
to justify it with total cost
Total cost may be needed to justify using a long-lived , readily
available catalyst to eliminate consumables.
- If really needed, the whole product system should be designed
around immediately available consumables e with inexhaustible
supplies at low cost.
- Don't lock the design into a proprietary source that is not
interchangeable with industry standards. Beware of proprietary
"standards" or special packaging that try to limited
customer choice -and availability - like razors and printer
Bottle-necks to Scalability and How to
Avoid Them (new for 2021)
"Theory of Constraints," made famous by textbooks
and even a novel by Eli Goldratt, strives to eliminate bottle-necks,
which can be a serious block to scalability.
The usual cause is a strategy based on "efficiency,"
which leads companies to buy bigger "more efficiency" machines with the
measure of efficiency being the utilization rate,
which is highest for mass production making identical products.
However, there are not many Model T plants that hove no variety. see tee
the article about the end of Mass Production: End
of the Line for Mass Production; No Time for Batches and Queues-.
Now days, variety is inevitable and maximum efficiency and
utilization are hard to maintain because it takes too long to change-
over from one batch to another batch. so, in order to drive up the
metrics, the setup cost and time are amortized over
larger batches and put into inventory. This keeps the machine
busy, thus raising up the utilization rate up by keeping busy
building products that no one ordered.
Of course, this will not scale up because these mega-machines are
hard enough to justify as it is, and buying to scale will difficult to
do and even harder to justify.
Bottle-necks can be eliminated
by not concentrating production into a mega-machines, which are
hard to scale. Instead, use multiple programmable machine tools that
1) widespread availability, even around the world
2) low cost and easy to use and program
-3) can be easily be make flexible using the principles found in the
author's 520 page BTO book described at the page on books
at (build-to-order-consulting.com) and illustrated at: Flex-Mfg
(build-to-order-consulting.com)-. and thus.
4) they will be easy o scale, virtually without limit.
All of these problems and solutions are worked into the Goldratt's
novel, "The Goal" is about a factory with a mega-machine
that was making "good numbers" on its utilization metric,
but the plant was about to close because it we so unprofitable (the real
So the solution implemented in the engaging novel was going to
"the bone pile" of used, "obsolete" machine
tools and assembled them into "right sized"
lines. This will be scalable.
Importance to scalability of Designing Products for
On the opening slide of the author's classes for the last 15 years,
the third definition of DFM says that good DFM will
“ensure that lack of manufacturability "doesn't make it difficult to respond to unexpected surges in product demand
or limit growth.” At this point, the author asks every class, "How
long would it take you do double production," The answers range from "6
months to never!"
manufacturability itself, must be designed into the product or a deficient
product will be hard to manufacture and hard to scale rapidly. Therefore,
scalability must be a key design goal if companies are going to want the ability
to scale up product levels rapidly and grow fast. If very high growth rates are
possible, then scalability may need to be a primary design consideration
Any product only designed for
functionality will be hard to manufacture and be hard to scale. For any industry
that may have the possibility of rapid growth, products must be well designed for
Products not designed for scalability can not be “made scalable” any more then
unmanufacturable products can be “cost reduced” as shown in in the article
7 reasons why you can't reduce cost after design.
In fact, cost reduction after design usually substitutes
which not only doesn't reduce total cost,
but also worsens availability, which then worsens
If any products have promising technology, but were not design for
manufacturability, they will have to be
commercialized to make them both
manufacturable and scalable.
Products that start with research will have to practice the
research early, as
taught in Section 3.9.
Not to Try to Scale
Companies should not try to scale up products that have not been
scalability, as shown in the following sub-sections.
“Avoid the “economy of scale” fallacy that once you
raise the production
the cost automatically goes down.”
Unfortunately, industrial legends have misled small companies
thinking that this
could benefit anyone. However, they need to realize that mass
production giants had enormous volumes with no variety, which meant
they could invest in massive hard tooling and no setup changes.
Today, variety is valuable, volumes are much less, and mass
replaced by Mass Customization (Section 4.3), and build-to-forecast
been replaced by Build-to-Order (Section 4.2), all of which can be
to be scalable, which this section shows how to do.
This book strongly recommends that
in line for
scaling up become ready for either of these scenarios:
products must be
redesign for manufacturability and scalability, as specified in Section 4.8.
2. New products
be designed for widespread scalability by following
the manufacturable research
3.9 and concurrently designed for manufacturability as presented in the rest of
this book while being design for scalability.
Similarly, if a company’s sales force accepts a tempting large
order that is
the whole operation may struggle with:
nowhere near enough parts and materials
in time to fulfill the accepted order.
fixtures, tooling, and processing equipment,
increased demand that should
have been concurrently engineered.
raise part cost, create too much
on precision machine tools.
cannot meet the increased demand
solve manufacturability, quality, or ramping
Unfortunately, all these problems will drain valuable resources
for manufacturability and scalability.
So until all products are designed well for manufacturability,
those that are not should rationalized away, as recommended in Appendix A.
Importance of Product
Platform Strategy to Scalability
Overview of Product
Design product in synergistic product families
that are versatile enough to quickly adapt to volatile demand
the platform family. Even if the foundation aspects of platform are somewhat
standard, those aspects will be easier to scale than many mass production
If the variations are built to-order, they could be built
on-demand without setup or inventory. See Section 4.7 in 2020
DFM book, which is based on the author’s book," Build-to-Order
& Mass Customization," which is also described on the book page at
the BTO sie.. www.build-to-orer-consulting.com.books.htm
How to Structure and
Build Platform Families for Scalability
If you have any variety of
product configurations or if they are subject to rapid changes, then you must structure
your configurations into families, which will help your business model in
many ways, including scalability of the entire family.
See how to implement the "disruptively" competitive
methodologies in Section 4.7 in the 2020 edition of
the DFM book.
Instead of dealing with several discrete product
variations that scale differently (which can change independently over
time), Section 4.7 will show how to scale whole families
together,- even if they are
evolving. Here are three examples:
can be concurrently engineered
to be able to adapt as product or its manufacture has to adapt.
This would use
principles , as also in the next
The ultimate example of the need for mass customized platforms is personalized cures
for cancer. Each patient submits unique input to a flexible process that
creates the ideal "marker" that triggers the body's immune systems
to go after the cancerous cells. Dr. Anderson provided expertise for
manufacturing strategies and flexible processing equipment. See
section below on "Scalability usig Mass Customization."
potential of mass customized platforms is testers should be to concurrently
engineered versatile testers that can adapt
the tests as the specimens adapt.
Responsibilities for Scalability
Research groups (the "R" in R&D) would structure
the family with versatile, coherent processing that can use the three
ways to customize in the Mass
- - be programmed to adapt
- - be adjusted to adapt
- - connect to modules for specialized needs
Development teams (the "D" in R&D0 would
design versatile products and equipment based on Research's structuring.
Of course, Research and Development must work early together to pull this
off. And sending research out for bids
is simply out of the question.
Scalable Labor Force and Partners
Here are DFM principles that can make labor more scalable
• Skill demands. These
can be greatly minimized in the Research phase as discussed in
the matching section in the
Manufacturable Research page.
In an early November 2021
• Firedrills. Scalable products should be designed for quick and
easy manufacture without the need for firedrills, “tribal lore,”
scarce resources, and skill and judgment. all of which make
production hard to scale up production volumes because of the
difficulty finding and training these resources.
• Scalable Vendor/Partners. Scalable products have custom
parts built by vendor/partners who help the OEM to
design their parts for manufacturability, quality, and fast
ramps on widely available programmable machine tools from widely available
materials on flexible tooling that avoids setup delays.
should be built on concurrently
engineered production equipment
tooling suitable for initial demand and
easily scalable to the
highest anticipated demand.
• Avoid scarce production equipment.
Avoid dependence on scarce
production equipment capacity for hard-to-build parts that can not
be built on automatic programmable
machine tools, for instance, large
weldments that must be machined after welding on scarce
mega-machine tools. The scalable alternative would be to replace
large weldments with automatic programmable
machine tool tolerance parts that can be made on automatic
programmable machine tools and assembled by local
labor rigidly and precisely
using DFM techniques at the
• Design to maximize use of existing machine shops
that have adequate capacity. For massive
scalability projects utilize automatic programmable machine tools
in the 21,200 machine shops in the United States alone!
• Avoid hard-to-expand production
equipment. Be cautious if your
supply chain depends on "fabs" that cost billions and take years
to build, which may be hard to scale quickly. At the individual
part level, do not base designs on parts whose availability is
limited by limited capacity production capabilities, like
electronic parts. semiconductor devises, and Photo-Voltaic
Utilizing L lean
Production to Shift Production
Equipment capacity shortages are confined to a few product line, then
Lean Production can provide a solution with production lines that are
versatile enough to shift production to more production lines whenever one
is overwhelmed by demand. If versatile production are concurrently
engineered, as taught in this section, the product line shifting can be done
quickly so as not to compromise any of the other products.
This is preferable to a Mass Production
changeover which takes a great deal
of effort and time to remove the other product’s capacity and replaces them
with the product that is having a hard time scaling.
Build-to-Order takes this further by concurrently designing
versatile product lines that can build any variation in the family without
any setup changes or delays.
Trying to scale up a variety of products can be very
inefficient and thus fall way short of maximum scalability, if operating in the
Mass Production mode, by building a batch of each version with calendar time and
resources wasted between change-over setup between each batch and then
amortize that waste over expensive inventory.
On the other hand,
can deliver the fastest scale-up of any
variety because it eliminates change-over delays and the waste of machine tool
time and resources. See new DFM book
So, if a variety of products needs maximum scalability, structured
Families (customized as above) and are always available at all points of use.
Scalability Using Postponement
Postponement is a Mass Customization technique in which a versatile
flotation part could be built ahead of time with variety built ahead knowing it
will be used later one way of another. On to this foundation parts could be
bolted many different postponed Varity parts, which be built ahead of time, or,
preferable, built to-order on-demand.
Another version of postponement is ordering versatile semi-finished parts in
quantity and then doing specific operations on-demand, like hole drilling or
machining specific optional features.
Optimizing Production Machinery
Another form scalability is optimizing the size
of a product,
the capacity of
machinery, or scope of a project.
Often, these are arbitrary choices in the product
definition. However, arbitrary
decisions should be avoided in product development as recommenced in Section
The size or capacity of a product should not be based on
previous products, competitive
offerings, “bigger is better” thinking, or even round numbers.
Rather, ascertain what is your optimal size for the
customer, keeping mind
that, if your product has a large
size or output,
it will sell only to customers
who need a large product.
On the other hand, a smaller size could
expand the market to customers with smaller needs and allow some customers
to stock multiple small sizes for specific needs.
Optimizing Scale Strategies
with Stackable Production Equipment
Companies that can sell more scaled down products
for smaller needs can also sell multiple small modules to markets with
larger needs if they were designed for versatile “stacking” scenarios.
Further ,for production equipment,
Lean Production principles encourage smaller batches (down to building
on-demand) which would need machines with smaller outputs used in multiple
“right sized” lines that satisfy customers quickly with much less inventory
Scalable product design is
best started at the research stage or early in multi-functional
design teams, which will also assure the best DFM.
Research groups and early Concurrent
Engineering teams can start applying these
immediately without any outside help.
WORKSHOPS, & CONSULTING
The first step is for everyone to learn:
Training by the Author of the first book published on Scalability and this Web page,
who incorporates thought-leader classes (now webinars) in all
of his classes on:
Two-day Webinar on Developing Products
The class will start with an
overview of Scalability principles from this page.
The course itself will be will be based on the web-site
Concurrent Engineering of Challenging
Products and, for the newest most advanced and effective
methodologies , see:
Webinar content includes all
topics covered above
Baseline class agenda, to be customized to company and
Value of Scalability
Scalability Product Development Principles
Ensure Availability of Parts & Materials
H0w to Avoid Running Out of Ingredients, Reagents, & Consumables
(new for 2021)
Advises: "Don’t risk having to
change a regulated product for availability" (new
Criteria for selection for scalability
Scalability and Concept/Architecture
Bottle-necks to Scalability and How to Avoid Them
Importance to scalability of Designing Products for Manufacturability
Product Not to Try to Scale
Importance of Product Platform Strategy to Scalability
Responsibilities for Scalability
Scalable Labor Force and Partners
Equipment Availability and Expandability
Utilizing L lean Production to Shift Production Lines
Scalability Using Mass Customization
Optimizing Production Machinery Capacity
Optimizing Scale Strategies with Stackable Production Equipment
Scalability initiatives can start by :
- Immediately start applying the principles of Manufacturable
Research which can be done as a do-it-yourself basis by
everyone in research..
- Arranging scalability webinars, which can reach everyone
In fast-moving industries,
training should be done and
strategies should be formulated before
the "next wave" of demand occurs.
Research Training for Scalability
This one-day webinar teaches research labs. group, and
research wherever they are. (the Next section is a two-day webinar
for product development companies.) The main theme of Scalability for Research
The goal of research should go way beyond just
"making it work."
The following will show how to start right away;
summarized in this link and formally presented in Section 3.9 in the
edition of the DFM book. This unique methodology for new
research presents several principles that can be easily implemented
research efforts, many of which are just avoiding short-sighted arbitrary
decisions. These include early efforts to assure part availability,
achievable tolerances, not being bogged down with skill demands, and
widely available processing. This web page or book section 3.9 can be
immediately applied without needing any outside help! Failure to do this
will result in either of the following:
(a) the "Valley of Death" between concepts and viable
products quoted from experiences n Silicon Valley in the start of the web article on
Scalability for Researchers. This session will summarize
scalability principles for researchers and their management based on
this page and Section 3.9 in the 2020 edition of
the DFM book. Subsets of this session will include
starting to optimize the following:
How Research decisions affect Development.
Availability of Parts, Materials, and Processing.
and lab equipment designers may be accustomed to just specifying
whatever will "work," maybe based on the first experiment
The biggest cause of supply chain problems in industry is telling Purchasing:
"this is the part
I want; go buy it" (singular). Usually, the ordered parts may
be hard to get over time at the needed scale,
with long lead-times (which can be
avoided, as taught in Section 5.19.2), and, thus, may be impossible to
scale up, without a change. Changing parts (for cost or
availability) is discouraged for all the reasons shown graphically in
Figure 1.2 in the DFM book, the worst of which is degrading
quality and introducing too many variables.
Research Can Either Enable or Thwart Manufacturable Development
Development efforts are most efficient and effective
can focus on the best they are taught to do.
Design for Manufacturability principles can optimize cost, time,
quality, and flexibility. One overlooked technique that can help do
all of these is to focus on what is most important by getting
"boilerplate" functions out of catalogs
"off-the-shelf," providing those are not precluded by
early arbitrary decisions.
For instance, a 20 inch wide electronic system will not fit in a
standard 19 inch wide rack system. Not only will off-the-shelf parts
simplify operations and supply chain management, but this will also
focus product development resources on what is most important.
A more insidious example is voltage proliferation. In some
electronic systems, all designers just specify all the different
voltages they need, which means that the design team then has to
design a custom power supply, which takes precious resources
and time for results that have nasty failure modes, like smoking or
outright system failure.
The Concurrent Engineering approach would be to select a standard
off-the-shelf power supply that has the common voltages used in that
industry and enough capacity for all future product variations
Surprisingly, doing these simple steps in the research stage will
allow more focus on the research itself AND allow more
development focus later on achieving the best functionality, cost,
quality, scalability and time to stable production.
Early Decisions Determine the Product Architecture,
determines; 60% of the cost; the speed of manufacture; the availability of
the parts, materials, ingredients, and processing; how adaptable derivative versions can
be, and, ultimately, how scalable the products can be. These early
architecture decisions also determine the concepts
By contrast, just sticking with the status quo will limit the
future to the current high cost and skill demands with only one mass
produced product and little opportunities for addressing multiple markets or
quickly adapting to changing market conditions and inability to scale up
COMMERCIALIZATION MAY BE NEEDED FOR SCALABILITY
The Commercialization session will be based on the latest
material published in the 2020 DFM book, which is based on the original
material at the commercialization page:
The Commercialization workshop will start with existing experiments,
computer virtual models, breadboards, prototypes, and acquired technology.
It them preserves the "crown jewels," and re-designs the
rest for manufacturability as described in Section 3.10 in the book, which
was derived from the web page on
the Commercialization workshop will be asked their own poll
question: If the research that came through was not "manufacturable
research" or can not be commercialized easily enough, in which case it
a would need to send it back to Research for more creative concept work?
As mentioned in the "Importance of Product Platform Strategy to
Scalability," from the webinar, a workshop would with show Development
teams how to concurrently engineer versatile products and manufacturing
equipment that can
adapt as specimens adapt.
customized seminars and webinars, these principles are presented in the context of your
company amongst designers implementers, and managers, who can all discuss
feasibility and, at least, explore possible implementation steps
customized workshops, brainstorming sessions
apply these methodologies to your most relevant products, operations, and supply
If you want to discuss Scalability by phone or
e-mail, fill out this form:
copyright © 2020 by
David M. Anderson
Book-length web-site on Half Cost Products:
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article] [Mass Customization article]
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