Every product in Motorola Solutions' portfolio is bench- marked and analyzed during design/redesign using Boothroyd Dewhurst's Design for Assembly
(DFA) software to cut part count and
With competition in the global economy, Motorola Solutions wanted to know
how they compare, and it was up to Rich
Darrell, engineering manager at the company's Holtsville, NY design center, to
provide the answers. "Senior leadership
challenged us to come up with a methodology for measuring whether our designs
were improving," says Darrell.
This meant getting a handle on a product portfolio that was hundreds of items
deep, and included devices added after a
task, the various
product lines were
separate design and
manufacturing teams at six
centers around the world.
In response to the
challenge, Darrell turned
to Design for Assembly
(DFA) software, a tool devel-
oped by RI-based Boothroyd Dewhurst
and adopted by Motorola more than
25 years ago. Part of a broader soft-
ware strategy called Design for
Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA),
DFA is used to simplify product
designs by eliminating unnec-
essary parts, making assembly
easier and lowering labor costs.
The other module, Design for
Manufacture (DFM), provides
concurrent-costing estimates for
alternative material and fabri-
Following its introduction,
DFA became a driving
ciple at the com-
pany and was inte-
grated alongside lean
By Chris Hardee, Tech Writer
Motorola Solutions uses DFA software to benchmark designs
& measure improvement in its global product portfolio
Unlocking Product Quality
A Metric for
Motorola discovered an important key to quality in the arly 1990s. The answer was hidden in assembly effi- ciency data collected while benchmarking a redesign for their fire and police radios.
Upon analysis, the numbers showed that as part counts decreased,
assembly efficiencies improved. Results also demonstrated that,
on reaching a certain efficiency value, products began exhibit-
ing Six Sigma ratings. Conclusion: Defects could theoretically be
removed as a direct byproduct of simplifying product designs.
Product simplification is at the core of the Design for Assembly
(DFA) software that Motorola adopted for that early benchmarking study. The DFA methodology guides engineers through
a series of systematic queries that can transform a complicated
design into one with significantly fewer parts.
The company's early redesign effort on its first-responder radios
resulted in both cost and quality benefits. By eliminating 100 percent
of the fasteners and cutting part count 78 percent, they achieved an
87 percent improvement in assembly time and an exponential bump in
assembly efficiency. Simultaneously, quality personnel measured an 80
percent reduction in manufacturing defects.
The cause and effect was simple to chart: Product simplification led
to assembly efficiencies, which led to durable and reliable products.
That, in turn, could minimize the impact of warranty programs and
make field service repair almost moot.
Given numerous similar successes, DFA methods have been institutionalized at Motorola and integrated alongside Six Sigma and Lean