Cognition and Quanta Fluid Solutions Case Study
May 1, 2013View all News and Events +
Managing and predicting cost and weight is key to successful product development. Using Enterprise Cost Management (ECM), product development teams globally manage program cost and weight from the first proposal through development and into manufacturing. ECM utilizes work breakdown structures to manage cost estimates, cost tools, weights, initiatives, and related data. It also gives cost analysts, engineers, and program managers the necessary tools to report, analyze, and manage the status of the product/program. ECM manages product development initiatives containing the impact of risks and future design changes on cost and weight. ECM links to the Cognition Cockpit assisting in critical parameter management.
ECM is easily deployed across a geographically dispersed environment through a data server(s), multiple clients, web access, and interfaces to various types of cost tools and data sources. ECM is a Knowledge Center® (KC) application.
Managing product cost and weight requires daily attention by engineers, designers, cost estimators, manufacturing specialists, and managers. ECM uses a work breakdown structure created by the engineering team or extracted from a corporate database or PDM and assigns target costs and weights. Internal and external costing tools are launched to update the cost for any line item. Existing cost and weight data is accessed on-line or imported using standard interface formats. Standard and custom searches and reports provide real time access to the latest estimates, forecasts, variances, and impact of initiatives. Learning curves and cost escalation are included when applicable.
Every project or part has a unique structure, configuration, set of tasks, and/or set of sub-assemblies. A user may drag and drop parts onto each other to create a hierarchy by hand or import an entire hierarchy from an external source. Process plan hierarchies are created the same way as product hierarchies with the line items being operations, rather than physical parts. Project and program hierarchies include parts, tasks, and any other item with either a cost or weight estimate.
Cost and weight estimates are continuously refined over the life of a program. As improved information becomes available, the fidelity of the estimates improves. ECM stores both the current and prior estimates, including estimates made using different assumptions. A collection of the estimates is kept with each item in the system. In addition, the assumptions, input data, and tool used to create the estimate are also stored in ECM, providing excellent auditing and traceability. Cost estimates and cost contributors may be stored in multiple currencies.
The combination of a structure and its associated cost and/or weight estimates constitute a Scenario. The users control the specific estimates used in a Scenario. The choice of which estimate to use is eased by exploiting ECM search tools. A user specifies estimate creation date, name, type, status, or production year as search criteria. The matching estimate for each Scenario line item is automatically selected. The user can also specify a specific estimate be used for any line item.
In addition to changing assumptions for creating different scenarios, a user may wish to add to or subtract items from the hierarchy creating a modified structure, or variant. The user then creates a scenario based on a variant.
Users interrogate the cost data including material, labor, and ODC cost contributors. ECM manages access to cost models, even external cost modeling software. Users can start integrated cost tools to further query the assumptions underlying the cost estimate. In summary, all the necessary input to arrive at a cost are kept as a trace of the cost estimate.
Funded activities and risks that will change cost or weight in the future are called Initiatives. Initiatives complete the story of where I stand today, what is my target, and what am I doing about it. Initiatives record what is being done to eliminate a forecasted variance. Initiatives are priced structures stored in ECM that contain the items that will be affected by the Initiative and the change in cost and weight as a result of the Initiative activity. Initiatives also store their effective date, funding requirements, and risk.
Exploiting the internal mapping capability of ECM, items may be found rapidly, independent of the size of the database. Rapid searches are available for part name, part number, family, and function.
Elements, estimates, and scenarios are subject to security control. A user may explicitly indicate those user groups with whom he wishes to share his data and how he wishes to share the data. The states include work-in process, published read only, published read-write, submitted for approval, and approved. Items subject to security have an owner (the last person to have modified the item), an author (the creator), and a set of group memberships.
Change history records are kept for each change made to a Scenario. The date, author, reason, and amount of change are stored for analysis.
Virtually any external costing tool can be added to ECM. A variety of standard interface templates are provided with ECM, including Scenario export in XML format. Direct integration is available for a number of popular costing tools such as SEER DFM™, PriceH™, and various Microsoft products via ActiveX. A variety of Excel formats are used to import data from corporate databases.
ECM supports multiple data views including web, structure, table, icon, link, and form view. Data can be exported to spreadsheets for further analysis and report generation. The application supports CORBA, OLE/COM, XML/HTML access, intelligent agents, and floating licenses.