8 x 60-minute lectures per semester
1 x 240-minute seminar per semester
14 x 480-minute field trips per semester
DSGN2702 - Design for Manufacture
Topic description
A critical decision in the product innovation process, is the selection of a competent and reliable manufacturer. While some organisations may decide to keep production local, many will choose an international supplier (typically in China) for competitive pricing reasons. It is therefore critically important that product designers develop an understanding of how to conduct business in China, as there can a considerable differences between the “price” and “cost” of doing business in China.

This topic will therefore broaden participant’s knowledge and understanding around issues relevant to innovation, design, manufacturing and business culture, within national and international design practice, through their participation in a supervised international study-tour.

The topic co-ordinator spent three years managing Research & Development and Business Development activities, with a Chinese/Taiwanese manufacturer in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing.

The topic aims to provide students with knowledge and skills in:

  1. Business Culture in China
  2. Design Culture in China
  3. Product Compliance
  4. Quality Management
  5. Design for Manufacture in China
  6. Tool Sourcing and Management
  7. Customer Management and Relationships
  8. Product Pricing
  9. Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)
  10. Ethical Behavior and the Chinese Legal System
  11. Contract Law and Payment
Educational aims
By making low cost products and selling them internationally, China has transformed its economy and the world’s economy with it. In 1990, China produced less than 3% of global manufacturing output by value, whereas its share is now almost 25%. China’s ascent has created supply chains that span South-East Asia and the “world factory” now makes almost half the world’s products.

This topic therefore addresses issues such as, how to do business in China? How to find, manage and keep manufacturers & suppliers in China?
Expected learning outcomes
At the completion of this topic, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Experience business culture in China: Building good business relationships and trust are very important in China, therefore time must be spent developing relationships
  2. Experience manufacturing processes and systems in China
  3. Experience design culture in China: China is on the verge of a design revolution. Just as the world has seen with Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea, a developing economy gradually evolves from a copy-culture to design-leader. The same is becoming true with China but at a greatly accelerated rate, as a result of its centralized socialist market economy
  4. Understand issues surrounding product compliance: Many Chinese suppliers are not aware of international product regulations, such as REACH and RoHS. Therefore without adequate controls being in place, they may supply components or products with excessive amounts of restricted substances
  5. Understand issues surrounding quality management: Managing a large number of subcontractors is not an easy task within Australia, let alone internationally. At a minimum, the supplier must have established procedures for checking incoming materials and components and quality checkpoints on the assembly line
  6. Understand design for manufacture in China: In respect to six sigma, design has a huge impact on quality in manufacture (80% of quality issue during production result from the product’s design) and this is especially true with China as often products are still assembled manually
  7. Understand tool sourcing and management: Manufacturing companies in Australia began looking to China as a source of production tooling in the mid 90’s and the vast majority of injection moulding tools are now sourced in China. Tool sourcing and management is a quite different process to product sourcing
  8. Understand customer management and relationships: Some companies are better at taking care of their customers and running businesses than others. This is also how it works in China but with many important, unique and subtle differences
  9. Understand product pricing and managing the RFQ process: The price difference between two competing suppliers is normally small, assuming quotes are based on the same product specification, as suppliers are typically purchasing materials and components from a similar network of subcontractors
  10. Understand Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ): The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) Requirement is the minimum number of products a supplier is willing to sell of a certain item. Chinese manufacturers generally set an MOQ much higher than those typically found in Australia