Product Redesign as a Cost-cutting Tool

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Design For Manufacturing

It can be hard to anticipate the total cost of the product, especially if it’s innovative and there’s not a lot of benchmarks to rely on. If you have committed to tight deadlines, you may find yourself approaching the NPI stage without the time to pause and optimize. Many times, the costs pile up as you get closer to the finishing line. At that time, you may realize that the end product is not as profitable as you were hoping it to be. 

This is a reality for many product innovators. Tight project deadlines often mean that we rush the product to the production stage without fully considering the cost of the processes. Because of that, sometimes we recommend a product redesign to simplify the process and cut down unnecessary costs.

Our blog discusses some of the few reasons why you might need to redesign a product.


How to Decide That It Is Time for a Product Redesign

You may ask yourself, ‘When is the right time for a product redesign? When is a product redesign acceptable? When should product redesign be my priority?’ 


It is worthwhile to consider a product redesign if your BOM cost is above your initial target, as this will lead to profits that are too small to sustain the business in the long run. You may also think about improving the product design if the production volumes have increased but you see no improvement in production efficiencies. If the manufacturing cost of a product increases despite a production volume increase, you may want to start looking for alternatives.

To simply put it, deciding whether or not your product requires a redesign is a balancing act between keeping the product profitable and lead times as short as possible. Ask yourself the following question: is the total cost reduction over a certain volume and period of time greater than the expense of the design change implementation? If yes, there may be an opportunity for cost savings through product redesign.


Reasons You Might Need to Redesign a Product


Under-Engineering vs Over-Engineering

Inexperienced product developers who are still learning the basics of the craft tend to under-engineer their products. This is when a product does not have sufficient consideration for form, fit and function, leading to a product that didn’t meet targeted user experience or design intentions. This can directly affect the cost of the product due to inappropriate material selections, and the production process is inefficient with inconsistent quality. 

On the other hand, there is over-engineering, whereby the product design is unnecessarily overcomplicated, and the form, fit and functions are beyond the targeted user experience or design intentions. As highlighted in our recent blog post where we discussed ways in which product design can reduce manufacturing cost, this results in a common phenomenon called ‘feature creep’. Adding excessive features to your product design not only increases cost and manufacturing complexity but also worsens the product usability.

The aim is to find the right balance and produce a product that meets the ideal form, fit and function – a difficult thing to get right.  


Your Design Needs to Accommodate a New Manufacturing Environment 

You may need to redesign your product due to changes in the manufacturing environment. For example, changing manufacturers will most likely result in a difference in their capabilities and, therefore, changes to how your product is designed for manufacturability. 

At KD, we collaborate closely with your manufacturers and conduct design for manufacturing based on their experience, skills, preferences, machinery, tooling, processes and capabilities. A final DFM needs to be tailored to specific equipment, materials and processes. To learn more about KD’s design for the manufacturing process, click here


You Are Selling Through a Third-Party Retailer

Moving from selling your product independently on your own platform, to selling it through a vendor means that you will be sharing your profit. It is likely that you will need to consider reducing the unit price in order to maintain profitability for both you and your sales partner. We often recommend looking into the redesign for cost reduction in this case as it may be a suitable solution in the long run.


Looking to Redesign Your Product?

Redesign for cost reduction requires an in-depth knowledge of the manufacturing processes, material selection and available components. At KD, we have the experience and expertise for all your redesign needs. 

We will closely collaborate with your team to help improve on previous designs while maintaining your product integrity. On sharing a sample of the product and all design files (BOM, schematics, Gerbers, CAD, CMF, PRD), we will review all aspects to see if there is an opportunity for a significant cost down through redesign.

Contact us today if you’re ready to get to work on redesigning your product.

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