Optimize costs at the design stage.

Nelson Miller Group’s expert engineers identify optimal materials and design features to optimize costs without sacrificing quality requirements.

Good design can mean the difference between a 10-cent component and a 10-dollar component. With our extensive design and re-design expertise, NMG helps improve your plans with a focus on decreasing costs while increasing quality. We help by collaborating with and influencing our manufacturing partners to identify possible savings and achieve optimal design for manufacturability.​

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CAE simulation to optimize cost during product design

Approaching engineering design with an eye on cost

When you partner with NMG, we work as an extension of your team. Whether you’re starting from a blank piece of paper or reimagining an existing design, we’re committed to helping you achieve cost reduction and your gross margin goals, while maintaining quality, service, and performance to meet your customer expectations. Here are some of the ways our engineers look to optimize costs, starting with the earliest concepts and well into production.

Explore cheaper materials and parts.

As you’ve likely experienced, raw materials selection can have a huge impact on your costs. Not only that, but secondary operations such as plating and finishing must also be considered to ensure you’ve got a full picture of your product’s cost. NMG uses our firm understanding of material science and engineering to advise on cost-effective materials and finishes that ensure your product’s performance, quality, reliability, and safety. We also help identify opportunities to standardize materials, parts, and packaging to eliminate high development, tooling, overall production, and assembly costs.​

Reduce cost at the design stage.

Consider the “Rule of Ten” for your product design—if the cost of identifying and repairing a defect increases tenfold each time you move to the next stage of production, you can save significantly by identifying and resolving challenges early in the design process. Cost-effective design starts at the very first stage of product planning.

NMG carefully inspects every aspect of your design for opportunities to optimize and improve. By implementing optimization techniques of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA), our engineers help eliminate unnecessary costs by:

  • Reducing the number of parts in your product and simplifying the geometry of those parts to avoid unnecessary complexity.
  • Identifying custom parts or substitutions that drive costs down while maintaining consistent performance, quality, and reliability.
  • Creating modular assemblies.
  • Designing efficient joining.
  • Ensuring tolerances are designed to be within process capability.
  • Minimizing re-orientation of parts during assembly or machining.
  • Simplifying or reducing the number of manufacturing operations.

One practical example of this is adopting hollow structural options where possible in injection molded plastics. Since thicker part walls tend to create challenges during production, NMG designers look for ways to incorporate hollow spaces reinforced by gussets, ribs, or other structural elements. Not only does this help avoid potential manufacturing defects, but it also additionally saves costs by using less material and decreasing the cooling time per piece. Learn more about our thermoplastic manufacturing experts at Injection Works, part of the Nelson Miller Group family.

Minimize manufacturing waste.

Eliminating unnecessary manufacturing waste takes two forms as it relates to product design. Firstly, avoiding production defects by incorporating DFM and DFA from the onset of your project, as outlined above, will help curb unnecessary costs. Another cost that you’re likely to incur takes the form of scrap material created during the manufacturing process. In addition to considering lower-waste manufacturing operations, your NMG designer can identify opportunities to set higher tolerances for components with lower functional or aesthetic priority. This optimization technique will minimize the amount of scrap material that is created and will also set you up for a cheaper production process.

Reduce design iterations.

A skilled outsourcing partner like NMG has ample experience and expertise, often at an industry-specific level, to guide you through the design process. Our extensive knowledge eliminates a trial-and-error approach and helps minimize the number of design iterations needed. When you get cost-effective design right the first time—or with fewer iterations—you save valuable time and resources.

Leveraging advanced technologies to test and optimize before production problems arise

The phrase “measure twice, cut once” has become a popular figure of speech for good reason—you’ll almost always save time and expense by double-checking your measurements. Similarly, thoroughly evaluating your design before moving into production will identify and resolve potential issues as soon as possible; as noted previously, it’s certainly much easier to make changes in equipment or material selection, or tweak your design, before moving to full-scale manufacturing. As obvious as it sounds, it remains the best approach to optimize costs in your design, and you can leverage advanced technologies to properly evaluate your product’s design.

Modern electronic board and computer aided design tools (CAD/CAE)

Use Computer Aided Design (CAD) and minimize physical prototyping.

While you’ll always want to create physical prototypes of your product, minimizing the number of prototype production cycles will save you time and money during your product development process. Engaging in an iterative design process with Computer Aided Design (CAD), you can see your product in a virtual environment before manufacturing it and make cost-effective design adjustments.

Expedite production with Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM).

Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) involves the transformation of a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) model into instructions that manufacturing machines can comprehend. Advanced CAD and CAM systems offer an optimized route to item production. They provide insights into tool paths, simulate presentations, estimate cycle times, and—crucially—analyze potential part deviations. This means not only identifying waste reduction opportunities but also preempting potential issues or breakdowns before they arise. NMG and its partners rely on these tools to optimize the manufacturing process, reducing lead times and improving production speed.

Rely on cutting-edge simulation technologies.

NMG leverages advanced Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) simulation, which can mimic actual production with greater than 90% accuracy, validating that your designs, selected materials, and production settings are optimized before moving forward. Depending on the application, additional material characterization testing (thermal, mechanical, environmental, physical, chemical, rheological, etc.) will ensure your design meets functional and aesthetic requirements. Of course, different simulation and testing methods are used for different manufacturing operations. The NMG team can help establish the appropriate validations for your specific project to deliver a highly cost-effective design.

Computer Aided Engineering or CAE sign

Why NMG?

Product design outsourcing brings significant cost optimization opportunities. NMG design engineers and its partners help your team develop cost-effective design leveraging advanced technologies and applying optimization techniques.

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