Standardized parts cut client’s manufacturing costs

Instant horsepower—our engineers have it. In just a few short weeks, they were able to help Black & Decker reduce manufacturing costs by designing an updated Porter Cable joiner with a motor the company was already making for a different power tool brand. It’s called commonization of parts, and it ultimately results in increased profit margins. Black & Decker chose Design Central to ensure the joiner, a power tool used in the process of joining two pieces of wood together, was brand-aligned and ready for production. We delivered efficiently and effectively.

  • Black & Decker
  • Consumer
  • Product Design
  • Engineering

Objective: Reduce manufacturing costs and ultimately increase profit margins for Black & Decker through commonization of parts across its multiple brands.

Product analysis uncovers opportunities

You have to know where you are before you can chart where you want to go. So we took an up-close look at the desired motor and the current Porter Cable joiner, as well as competitor products, in search of ways to add to, remove from or otherwise improve the final design. Moving quickly, we deconstructed and examined each part, uncovering opportunities while also understanding the impact changes have on manufacturing costs. It’s a bit of a hidden art—knowing which design changes are necessary and how to minimize the cost to the client—but we dig it. Early prototypes helped us work through fit and function challenges before moving on to computer-aided design (CAD).

Engineers keep design in mind to deliver a brand-aligned product

With a proven sensitivity to industrial design, our engineers worked quickly and efficiently to imagine an updated plate joiner with the desired motor and the Porter-Cable visual brand language (VBL). Collaborating closely with Black & Decker’s team, we aimed to minimize the impact of the change so consumers could easily recognize the brand in the updated product. After handing over our tool-ready files, the Porter Cable 557 Plate Joiner came to market, allowing Black & Decker to make one motor for multiple products, reducing costs and increasing profit margins.