Er Ramalingam K S
DFM & Innovation Consultant

Enterprises are getting increasingly pressured with modern day demands related to competition getting stiffer, rising customer demands, margins getting lower, cost of operations ringing higher without relevance to products’ performance, cost of overheads shooting up & the shooting up of inflation. Engineering companies are no exception.

To improve performance of the existing products by redesign or by way of designing of new products the current products are required to be modified and updated - the important criteria being its speed of change in Designing, Developing Manufacturing & Marketing to serve the varying demands of the customers.

An introduction to "Tao of DFM"

Tao of DFM is a simplified methodology to implement DFM in Indian Industries. DFM means ‘Design for Manufacturability’. Tao of DFM is applicable to any sized Industry involved in the business of discrete engineering products/assemblies – design & manufacture.

Design & Manufacturability are to be synergized with each other for bringing innovative products like ‘Yang’ – the man & ‘Yin’ – the woman that are to be united by body and spirits to bring out the expanding humanity on this earth as per Taoism from China (or Arthanareeswara from India).

Our Indian government launched ‘Make in India’ in 2014. The program aims at promoting India as an important investment destination and a global hub for manufacturing, design and innovation.

The basics are to be Manufacturing, Design & Innovation. India has somewhat modernized its manufacturing sector. We are also upgrading our Engineers & Technicians to new ways of lean manufacturing and bringing CNC & low cost automation in various sectors of industry. Outsourcing is the order of the day in most of the Engineering Industries. A common man gets easily trained in usage of internet or ATM or even 4G. But, when we think of Design & Innovation, we are far behind in supporting local talents or indigenization or adopting DFM-Design for Manufacturability.

Current Status of DFM in India:

The subject of DFM itself is being slowly introduced in a few Indian Engineering Institutions – that too only at PG Level – whereas in countries like USA it has found place even at ITI level even before 2000. In 2008 at Indianapolis in USA in a Design & Prototyping Competition was sponsored by www.drivebuv.org, in which young boys from a local ITI were found to be fully aware of DFM for many years and these boys even competed with Engineering Universities in USA & got the second prize. DFM Skills were embedded in them during their young age itself. In our current Indian society, we have unfortunately split Knowledge from Skills and introduced great walls between ‘Knowledge & Skills’ or ‘Design & Manufacturability’ which ultimately has led us to depend on external collaborations for innovative engineering products. This has killed our native spirit earlier developed and nourished by our ancient gurus by way of imparting knowledge & skills to all levels i.e., from a prince to a farmer.

Now at least we have started to realize to bring Skill Development Practices to fill up the Gaps – thanks to the directions through the Government’s ‘Make in India’ and boosting the ‘Start-ups’. To meet these challenges and utilize the opportunities before these budding engineers with basic CAD skills or with inputs on Manufacturing, there is a dire need to impart Practice Training on DFM through ‘Tao of DFM’ as detailed in the book titled as ‘Taoist Directions for Design & Development’.

Our innovative President then, late Dr. APJ Kalam wanted our young minds to dream and told that

“Dream is not what you see in sleep. Is the thing which will not allow you to sleep!”

Let our engineering students not stop with their dreams, but also learn DFM to achieve them when they take up Design as their career.

To be a DFM Engineer, the engineers should acquire manufacturing expertise with additional passion in Design/Development or a Design/Development expertise, and manufacturing. These inputs could not be obtained during your academic career.