John Deere & Co. (Moline, IL) set a company goal to reduce the cost of parts purchased by its major equipment divisions.

There were two ways to meet that goal: buy less expensive parts or buy fewer parts. The first way required legwork and shrewd bargaining. The second required better product designs. And for that, Deere's engineers were helped by Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA) software from Boothroyd Dewhurst Inc. (Wakefield, RI).

"We have two mandates for the cost management group at John Deere: reduce part costs and increase product reliability," says Rich Norton, manager of cost management. "The process and materials cost-estimating capabilities of DFMA software has assisted in achieving both goals."

DFMA software combines two complementary tools-design for assembly (DFA) and design for manufacture (DFM). Engineers use DFA software to reduce the assembly cost of a product by consolidating parts into multifunctional designs. DFM software then allows the design engineer to quickly judge the cost of producing the new design and to compare it with the cost of producing the original assembly. An extensive library in the software enables product developers to investigate alternative materials and processes for producing parts.

The cost management group at John Deere works with cross-disciplinary teams that include members of the supply chain. The teams review a bill of materials for a part to establish a benchmark. They then perform DFM analyses of materials and manufacturing processes to redesign the part and provide the supplier with a "should-cost" estimate based on the new design.

For more information on design for manufacture and assembly software, call 401-783-5840, visit or Reply 5.