DFM stands for Design For Manufacturing. This is key: DESIGN. FOR. The phrase refers to the actual decision-making process of laying down geometry to ensure manufacturing yields. Strictly speaking, DFM does not mean checking a finished design for manufacturing rules compliance, it's much more than that.
DFM should be considered a sub-specialty of the Product Cost Management process. A holistic approach to PCM means that the product team manages and optimizes:
* BOM Change Management
* Design For Manufacturing
* Design for Assembly
* Design TO Cost
* Design for Procurement
* Cost Targeting
* Capital Asset Justification
* Should Cost / Price
The DFM portion is oriented toward maximizing yields. When you're building 5 million iPhones, pennies-per-unit count. When you're building a few hundred a month, the pennies still count. Furthermore, proper design for manufacturability also decreases the chances that marginally-acceptable product would get into the field and cause field failure later.
DFM has impacts that are primary (board yields), secondary (customer returns/failures) and tertiary (support costs, product profitability, margins, etc.)
And yet, PCB DFM tools, as currently available in the marketplace are really just checking Design Rules and Electrical Rules. It's an insufficient solution, we think.
That's where this discussion thread comes into play.
Tell us what you do for a DFM methodology. How do you work with DFM in your work environment? What would you like to see as a workable DFM tool flow? Where does it fit in your design work flow?