There is always a compromise between development time and cost of manufacture. Often a solution can be developed fairly quickly and inexpensively for the purposes of testing or proving a concept. However, a substantial amount of work remains to optimise the design, guarantee that it is repeatedly possible to manufacture it with a high level of quality, and ensure that the costs remain as low as possible. Electronic design is an area where exceptional savings can be seen if Design for Manufacture (DFM) and Design for Assembly (DFA) are taken into consideration.
With a wide variety of suppliers and distributors, there is an enormous selection of components that could be suitable for an application. Careful selection can drastically reduce the cost without compromising functionality, although testing and a detailed analysis of each part is of course required to ensure that the quality is within the required standards.
Even for existing products which are currently in production, it is useful to consider whether new technologies or a redesign will facilitate manufacture and reduce costs. Typical examples are dated boards with Through Hole components that may require manual labour for the placement or soldering – a redesign that introduced Surface Mount technology will automate the manufacture and not only reduce costs but also reduce lead times.