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New revised  article on How to avoid most shortages now 
AND design new products for unlimited Scalability

see revised article at:  http://design4manufacturability.com/scalability.htm 


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 (Section 4,8) 
after being designed so well for manufacturability
that the costs saved range from half to one-tenth 
(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 site:     https://www.routledge.com/9780367249946  

Entirely new methodology below: on Scalable Innovation.  

Scalable solutions start with scalability strategies, that can be implemented all over in months, not years or decades! See https://www.design4manufacturability.com/strategy.htm

These  strategics must specify well thought-out plans that will result in:

Fast development of truly  scalable systems

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, "Material and Part Availability for Scalability."

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 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. See:  http://halfcostproducts.com/commercialization.htm , 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 designed 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 Needed

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).

n 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 your company or client has high overhead charges, don't let these excessively burder your  design project.  Instead, spin it off as a "profit-and-Loss " center (see book section 7.4.1, which also covers "Skunk-Works" protection from excessive overhead charges, which can be physical or "virtual" in the form of rational overrhead rates.

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; 
from1.6.4: 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.”


 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 (4.8.4).

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 solar panels.

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!

Their 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 are hard-to-build, 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 reverse order)

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 http://design4manufacturability.com/downturn_strategy.htm .


Don’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 Work."

For reference, read the original article on On-Demand Lean Production. At: http://www.build-to-order-consulting.com/lean.htm

If you like that, learn how to Design for Lean Production and Buid-to-Order at

The very first step may be to start with a few hours of  thought-leader  consulting
to help formulate strategies and implementation  planning.


How to avoid shortages by Design

Why Offshore Causes Shortages (new)

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 Products immediately;




calability is a new, unique  methodology  that enables;

  •  he fastest ramp  to any stable production volume
    • unlimited scalability after that for:
      any growth needed
      any surges in demand in the needed time

     (Figure 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 market leadership:

“Firms that scale and deploy innovations rapidly
will remain market leaders.”


 The Value   of   Scalability

eing 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, advertising, promotions, or simply that the product is a surprise hit.

Be able to quickly replace obsolete and problem products 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).

Quickly producing emergency replacement demands from natural disasters.

Rapidly scaling up new products for very large new markets such as widespread solutions to energy and climate challenges.

• Growth without limits.

Scalability  Product Development Principles 

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:

Avoiding Complexity

First question the complexity: ask:

 Is the status quo concept based on the usual lab procedures or highly skilled operators? built with unnecessarily tight tolerances?

Understand all the costs, delays, and effects on Scalability, regarding:

Manual operations, which may not be possible at scale because of cost, quality risks, ,skill demands, worker availability, and worker distancing constraints. Although, even if none of those concerns are important, manual labor may need to be versatile with enough breadth of equipment.

- Automation may alleviate skill demands, worker availability, quality vulnerabilities, and 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 book

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 commercialization.

Use Creativity (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 Concept Simplification

Ensure    Availability  of Parts & Materials

oactively select parts and materials for assured availability for the life of the product at the highest possible production volumes. This includes avoiding:

  • 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 replacements.

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.

Scalability can be immediately improved by 
expanding your sources of supply by qualifying  more suppliers right now 
beyond your current supplier "part numbers."  


How to Avoid Running Out of medical 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  commercialized 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.

Scalability can be immediately improved by expanding your sources of supply by qualifying  more suppliers right now beyond your current supplier "part numbers."  


Scalability  for Regulated Product    (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  aerospace, 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 trying to:

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  counter-productive  actions cause product problems or force a re-certification (coming up below).

Scalability can be immediately improved by expanding your sources of supply by qualifying  more suppliers right now beyond your current supplier "part numbers."  


Criteria for selection for scalability

For all potential candidates, investigate  rank the following:


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 operation.

  •  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 cartridges 

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 ordinary machine tools that are:

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.

The Goal

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 goal).

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  Manufacturability

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!"

        Scalability, like 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 scalability.

        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  cheaper parts,
which not only doesn't reduce total cost,
but also worsens availability, which then worsens scalability.

    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 principles of manufacturable research early, as taught in Section 3.9.


Product Not to Try to Scale

Companies should not try to scale up products that have not been well designed for scalability, as shown in the following sub-sections.

“Avoid the “economy of scale” fallacy that once you raise the production volume, the cost automatically goes down.”

Unfortunately, industrial legends have misled small companies into 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, no setup changes, and specialization of labor.

Today, variety is valuable, volumes are much less, and mass production is being replaced by Mass Customization (Section 4.3), and build-to-forecast has been replaced by Build-to-Order (Section 4.2), all of which can be designed to be scalable, which this section shows how to do.

This book strongly recommends that any products possibly in line for large-scale scaling up become ready for either of these scenarios:

1. Existing products must be thoroughly commercialized, which may involve redesign for manufacturability and scalability, as specified in Section 4.8.

2. New products must be designed for widespread scalability by following all the manufacturable research principles presented in Section 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 not scalable, the whole operation may struggle with:

Availability problems like nowhere near enough parts and materials available in time to fulfill the accepted order.

Inadequate fixtures, tooling, and processing equipment, for the increased demand that should have been concurrently engineered.

Unnecessarily tight tolerances that raise part cost, create too much demand on precision machine tools, or require too much skilled labor.

Inadequate vendor/partners that cannot meet the increased demand either.

Too much firefighting to solve manufacturability, quality, or ramping issues.

Unfortunately, all these problems will drain valuable resources away from designing products 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  Family  Synergies

Design product in synergistic product families that are versatile enough to quickly adapt to volatile demand variations within the platform family. Even if the foundation aspects of platform are somewhat standard, those aspects will be easier to scale than many mass production products.  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 that page.


How  to  Structure  and Build  Platform  Families  for  Scalability

If you have any variety of product configurations or if they are subject to change, 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:

Production equipment  can be concurrently engineered to be able to adapt as product or its manufacture has to adapt.  This would use Mass Customization principles , as also in the next example.

Personalized  Medicine.  The ultimate example of 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. 

Testers.  Another 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 Customization article:

  • - 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 regarding:

• Skill demands. These can be greatly minimized in the Research phase as discussed in the matching section in the Manufacturable Research page.

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 machine tools  from widely available materials on flexible tooling that avoids setup delays.

Equipment   Availability   and   Expandability

Scalable products should be built on concurrently engineered production equipment and tooling suitable for initial demand and be 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 build on ordinary 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  machine tool tolerance parts that can be made on ordinary CNC machine tools and assembled rigidly and precisely using DFM techniques  at the steel/cost reduction workshop.

Design to maximize use of  existing machine shops
that have adequate capacity.  For massive scalability projects utilize general purpose CNC 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 panels.


Utilizing L  lean   Production   to   Shift   Production   Lines 

 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.



Scalability   Using  
Mass Customization 

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.

On the other hand,  Mass Customization  can deliver the fastest scale-up of any variety because it eliminates change-over delays and the waste of machine tool time and resources.

So, if a variety of products needs maximum scalability structured into  Product Families  and built to-order in plant cell layouts from standard parts, materials, and ingredients that are pulled in so they 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   Capacity

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 1.8.

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


Scalability Conclusions

Scalable product design is best started at the research stage or early in multi-functional design teams, which will also assure the best DFM.
  Easy –to-apply  Manufacturable Research principles are presented in Section 3.9 in the he 2020 DFM book and at the “Research” button on this site.
   Research groups and early Concurrent  Engineering teams can start  applying  these  immediately without any outside help.



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  for  Scalability

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 "white paper:" Concurrent Engineering of Challenging Products and, for the newest most advanced and effective  methodologies , see: http://www.design4manufacturability.com/advanced_npd.htm 

Webinar content  includes  all topics covered above

Baseline class agenda, to be customized to company and products:

    Value of Scalability
Scalability Product Development Principles 
            Avoiding Complexity
            Look for Simplicity
    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 for 2021)  
 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 Conclusions


Scalability   Implementation

Scalability initiatives can start  by :


In fast-moving industries, training should be done and 
strategies should be formulated before 
the "next wave" of demand occurs. 


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 is:

The goal of research should go way beyond just "making it work."

The following will show how to start right away;

Manufacturable Research is summarized in this link and formally presented in Section 3.9 in the 2020 edition of the DFM book. This unique methodology for new research presents several principles that can be easily implemented in 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 Manufacturable Research.

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. Research labs and lab equipment designers may be accustomed to just specifying whatever will "work," maybe based on the first experiment that "worked."

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 when everyone 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, and that 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 fast.



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  commercialization

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.


The very first step may be to start with a few hours of the DFM thought-leader to help formulate strategies and implementation planning.  See his consulting page:  http://design4manufacturability.com/Consulting.htm

In 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

In customized workshops, brainstorming sessions apply these methodologies to your most relevant products, operations, and supply chains.


To start an email  discussion on  Scalability, fil out this form:

I am interested custom remote webinars on Designing Half-Cost Products r workshops on Design for Manufacturability & Concurrent Engineering *

  I am interested custom remote BTO*  webinars or workshops on "Build-to-Order & Mass Customization *.

Please notify me about any future public seminars or webinars on Design for Manufacturability. or BTO & Mass Customization

    * To preview these principles see the definitive book on DFM and the 510 page book BTO & Mass Customization





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Greatly m Minimizing product cost
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Fastest time to stable production
Designing in the best quality and reliability right-the-first-time
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Designing for Lean Production, Build-to-Order, and Mass Customization
Assured availability of parts, materials, and products
More effective product development process
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Call or email about how these principles can apply to your company:

  Dr. David M. Anderson, P.E., CMC 1-805-924-0100; e-mail: anderson@build-to-order-consulting.com


copyright © 2022  by David M. Anderson

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