Major Manufacturer Piloted DFX to Transform its Design Process

Major manufacturer piloted DFX to transform its design process

Design for X (DFX) is a methodology that works towards improving processes in a specific field (X) like manufacturing, power, variability, cost, yield, or reliability. So depending on the needs, the methodology works towards designing for improvement (excellence) in the realm of focus. Here, we will discuss a case study in which this methodology was used. 


A manufacturer of advanced process control metrology systems wanted to adopt DFX to:

  • Reduce total PLC costs
  • Improve product maturity
  • Enhance customer satisfaction

The project focused on implementing four specific DFX areas:

  • Manufacturability
  • Serviceability
  • Reliability
  • Cost


Tefen adopted a 3 step approach to tailor DFX methodologies to the client’s needs:

  1. Gap Analysis
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Pilot

The project was implemented via three parallel vectors:

  1. Practice team, which established the methodology, processes, and tools
  2. Project teams, which implemented the methodology on specific R&D projects
  3. Department teams, which enhanced DFX culture and professionalism in each department


 Gap Analysis

 Step 1: Gap Analysis 

Tefen collaboratively worked with stakeholders to identify main gaps and focus areas through process mapping, interviews, and data collection.

Tefen also conducted a readiness assessment using the Tefen maturity model. Tefen assessed 5 levels of maturity that address key aspects of implementing DFX (Awareness, Process, Control, Governance, and Culture). The results informed the development of the DFX implementation plan that was suitable for the organization.

Tefen maturity model results dfx

Step 2: Infrastructure

Tefen engaged cross-functional DFX practice teams to define and approve new DFX processes, best practices, tools, checklists, templates, and metrics. 

Sample high-level process map DFX TEFEN

Teams contained representatives from all parties relevant in the product design and development process. Tefen ensured that each team had a proper project charter, governance structure, and project management tools in place to be successful. Having cross-functional teams developed an atmosphere of openness and cooperation, which were critical to establishing the collaborative DFX culture. 

 The Tefen checklist gives visibility to roles and responsibilities, gates and current status of requirements, dates and delivery accountability.

Tefen checklist DFX

Utilizing the Tefen tradeoff tool helped team leaders make informed decisions about new design options based on the desired parameters (Manufacturability, Cost, TTM, Satisfaction, Reliability, and Serviceability). Results of the Tefen tradeoff tool allowed for weighing options and provided visibility to progress at different project stages. 

Tefen tradeoff tool dfx

Additional critical change management tools Tefen provided for making DFX a long-term success included visual management, prescribed management routines, recognition program with nomination letters, giveaways, DFX logo creation, and a  DFX portal, etc.  All initiatives were designed for employee engagement and to drive enthusiasm for the progress of the DFX program. 

Change management tools

DFX Champion program

To support change management efforts and ensure DFX sustainability, Tefen worked with the client to develop a champion program. Champions became the DFX experts, who modeled the new tool use and processes, thereby inspiring adoption by team members.  These champions became the leaders for future DFX implementations. 

Step 3: Pilot

Tefen worked alongside project teams to select appropriate products to pilot the new DFX tools. Tefen also collaboratively developed metrics to monitor the success of the pilot programs.


KPI Status

Additional pilot highlights that enabled DFX maturity:

  • Established pilot DFX team and interfaces
  • Nominated operations and service focal points
  • Used DFX checklists and defined DFX requirements (included requirements in SOWs to vendors)
  • Monitored DFX risks in PM risks table
  • Prepared DFX status was prepared for PLC gate 3


  • Cross-functional team collaboratively mapped DFX requirements, analyzed demands, discussed issues, and achieved Quick Wins
  • DFX meetings replaced departmental development team meetings
  • DFX checklists and tools were tailored to the organization
  • Within a 3 month period there was a significant shift in site maturity in all DFX aspects
  • DFX was implemented in the pilot project (SOWs, core teams, gates, DRs)
  • DFX infrastructure (processes, tools, templates, metrics) was set

Adrienne Pelleg

Director at Tefen USA

Strategy, Life Sciences, Organizational Effectiveness & Change Management Expert

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