We believe in staying ahead of the curve because when we’re ahead, so are our customers.
As a new generation of engineers enters the contract manufacturing industry in a period of rapid inflation, engineers and customers alike are seeking ways to decrease costs and simplify parts. Instead of sticking to tradition, we spent years perfecting our solution:
DFM, or Design for Manufacturability.
DFM bridges the gap between what’s possible to design and what’s practical to manufacture. The goal is to decrease costs and lead times associated with manufacturing a part while maintaining exceptional quality and performance.
Here’s a deep dive into the three key components that make Reata’s DFM services stand out.
1. Customer-Led Contract Manufacturing Collaboration
Our first DFM 101 blog explained why collaboration between designers and manufacturers is a critical aspect of DFM. And at Reata, we practice what we preach.
Collaborating with our contract manufacturing customers is fundamental to our DFM philosophy. We encourage customers to engage with us as equals to have an open conversation about their parts. We love it when customers ask how designs can be improved, whether seeking a specific solution or general advice on efficiently manufacturing their parts.
That’s because Reata approaches working with customers like a partnership—if our customer wins, so do we. That also means that if a customer is hesitant to modify their part’s design, we won’t push them to do so.
Incorporating DFM in the quoting process
When we receive a new quote request, we first evaluate whether we can manufacture the part. If we can’t, it’s not an automatic no-quote—we communicate what changes the customer needs to make for us to manufacture the part and take it from there.
If we do have the capabilities to manufacture the part as is—which is usually the case—we still put on our DFM hat, suggesting design modifications that can save the customer time and money. For example, if our engineers identify a component that the customer could substitute for a less expensive option without impacting the part’s functionality, we alert the customer about the potential for savings.
When a customer specifies target pricing and the quote far exceeds their target, we open a dialogue with them to identify DFM solutions that will bring the price down.
We put in the work at the front end to ensure that, when working with Reata, customers can be confident they’re getting the best deal and the highest quality.
2. Cutting-Edge Technology
Reata stays at the forefront of technology to best implement DFM best practices in our contract manufacturing shop. We use Paperless Parts to evaluate 3D part models and accurately assess features that could benefit from DFM solutions.
To also invest in exclusive equipment most contract manufacturing shops don’t have, like robo-automation and multi-tasking machines. This technology allows us to produce parts in the most efficient way with the least amount of inspection steps. Not only does this increase part quality and consistency, but it helps keep the time and costs associated with our production processes as low as possible.
Despite our advanced machinery, we still commit to using standard tooling whenever possible to keep costs and lead times reasonable. After all, just because we can use a custom tool doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for a part.
3. Extensive Engineering Expertise
As Reata continues to embrace automation, we’re prioritizing engineering talent more than ever. Investing in highly skilled engineers gives us a talented, larger-than-average engineering pool with decades of experience between them—in fact, over half our staff has engineering expertise.
Incorporating DFM best practices is second nature to most of our employees. When we receive a new part design, everyone from machinists to quality assurance is thinking about how to manufacture the part as efficiently as possible.
When customers request our DFM expertise from their first engagement with us, we can enthusiastically put that expertise to use from the beginning.
Overcoming Challenges in Changing Times
As prices everywhere continue to rise, DFM has become more critical than ever. Cutting costs isn’t just a benefit these days—it’s a necessity to keep businesses afloat.
At Reata, we will always prioritize our customers. Our advanced technology, extensive engineering expertise, and customer-led philosophy ensure customers receive exactly what they need—and then some.
Dustin Simoncic, Reata’s Quality Assurance Manager, sums it up best: “Tell us what you want from your parts, and we will help you get there.”
Request a quote today.