Reducing waste by design

There are several ways that design engineers can build waste-reducing steps into the design process. The first step to reduction of waste is to design products able to accommodate different components without redesign. If one product can be used in a variety of applications, it will reduce extra manufacturing steps and speed delivery. Yet another way to cut waste is by reducing vendor count. Fewer vendors mean less paperwork and greater savings through volume pricing. When a component arrives from a vendor, it should be ready to install in as few steps as possible. Of course, this may require slight changes in designs but the payoff is increased efficiency. Finally, reducing waste can be as simple as planning ahead. A common error of many design engineers is failing to coordinate the efforts of various design departments such as electrical with mechanical. Proper planning helps prevent such last-minute surprises as discovering there isn't enough room for a component, or that environmental conditions are more extreme than the design is able to handle.