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Design for COGS

Lower your parts count.  Parts count is the one factor you can control and evaluate at the concept phase in design.  You won't really know what a part costs after a supplier has tooled up and you have negotiated volume discounts, but you can anticipate that a device made of 10 parts costs more than one made of 7.

Every extra part has to be assembled - so it goes beyond just part cost, your assembly costs depend on parts count as well.

Part costs go beyond just COGS - parts have carrying costs (supplier audits, inventory, etc.) that increase your burden just by existing.

Finally, it's not just cost, but quality as well.  Failures tend to happen where two parts come together, whether they are assembly errors that create scrap, or weak joints between the parts that can cause more serious problems.  If you want to predict final reliability in the concept phase, parts count is the first proxy you should look at.

Need help calculating the theoretical minimum number of parts for a design concept?  I can lead you through the process and recommend ways to improve your parts efficiency.

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