Life learnings from Elon Musk’s 5-Step Design & Manufacturing process

Our all-time favorite Elon Musk toured around the Starbase facility, he breaks down design and manufacturing process in these steps from his learnings which can be applied to things beyond just manufacturing being underrated and design being overrated. Manufacturing/Execution is definitely not as sexy as the end thing. That’s what draws people’s attention, but the whole back end of it is what makes it possible.

  1. MAKE REQUIREMENTS LESS DUMB
  2. TRY TO DELETE PART OF THE PROCESS
  3. SIMILIFY OR OPTIMIZE
  4. ACCELERATE CYCLE TIME
  5. AUTOMATE

MAKE REQUIREMENTS LESS DUMB

It’s doesn’t matter who gave them to you, its particularly dangerous when they come from an intelligent person, as you may not question them enough. Everyone’s wrong, No matter whohh you are, everyone is wrong sometime.

Whatever requirements or constraints you have, it must come with a name, not a department. Because you cant ask the departments, you have to ask a person. The person putting forward must take responsibility for it.

TRY TO DELETE PART OF THE PROCESS

If parts are not being added back into the design at-least 10% of the time, not enough parts are being deleted. The bias tends to be very strongly toward ‘let’s add this part or process step in case we need it’

Because if you don’t run tight margins, you’re gonna get nothing to the orbit.

SIMPLIFY OR OPTIMIZE

The reason this is the third step and not the fist according to elon musk is because the most common error of a smart engineer is to optimise something that should simply not exist.

Everybody has been trained in highschool and college that you gotta answer the question, if you tell a professor your question is dumb, you will get a bad grade.

You have to ask the question wether something should exist. So everyone is basically, without knowinig it, they got like a mental straight jacket on. They’ll work on optimisinig thhe thiiig that should simplpy not exist.

ACCELERATE

IIf you are moving too slowly, go faster! But don’t go faster until you’ve worked on the otehr three things fiirst.

Make sure you have the first three things done properly ecause you are diiffinig your grave, you dont want to dig your grave faster.

AUTOMATE

The final step is to automate it.

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