Design for manufacturability has been a practice in the custom machinery business from the beginning. The most innovative concept is only a concept until someone figures out how to make it, on time, and within budget. The cost and time constraints require that each component be designed and manufactured to function correctly the first time.
The continuing advances in CAD software make the design process much simpler. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) can give insight into potential problems before metal is cut. FEA is also of great assistance when combining components to reduce part count.
The opportunity to send a 3D CAD file to a supplier anywhere, and have a component manufactured to exacting tolerances greatly enhances the design flexibility. The process of working with outside vendors also involves design considerations for the outside vendor's processes, sometimes requiring several iterations before a final design can actually be manufactured.
In the realm of custom machinery, Getting it right the first time can be the difference between profit and loss. Therefore designing for manufacturability is of primary importance in the process.