By Teifion Lewis
With the shenanigans of the recent economic downturn and the economic climate as it is it has become readily apparent that engineering companies – now more than ever – are turning their attention to reducing product costs wherever possible. The software to do this has been around in various guises for a number of years – from estimating software through to a number of expert systems available today. One problem with these systems has been the fact that specialized knowledge is required to be able to produce useful answers and conclusions, and no particularly satisfactory solution was obvious.
Around a year or so ago we came across a product called aPriori (www.apriori.com) which was written in America, and until that time this was where it stayed. This product was very interesting, as it allowed a user to take a 3D CAD model – from any system – even STEP, and produce a cost of the components very quickly – in a matter of seconds – and this would allow the engineer to see in real time not only how much the part would cost, but allow them to see if design changes caused the price to go up or down! Many different people can benefit from this approach, as no knowledge of CAD is required to use the software, and therefore Cost engineering as well as purchasing can benefit really quickly from the results.
aPriori allows you to quickly see if the parts being designed as part of your New Product Introduction Process are adhering to the plan and costs aren’t running away out of control. It wall also help you see if any redesign activities will ensure that your better design costs less than the version it is to replace! As aPriori gives you a “Should Cost” for your components – either singly or in bulk – you can also see quickly if you are overpaying for any parts you are currently sourcing from your supply chain.
More on this and some real examples in future Blogs!
So the exciting part? This product is now available outside America and a number of companies in the UK and Europe have already realized how they can benefit from it – saving many times their annual investment in a few weeks or months.
So that’s what I will be blogging about – how you can use your CAD models to help you get a quick and accurate cost for your designs, to save your company money and over the weeks I’ll attempt to show you how this exciting technology can be used to help you get on top of your product costs…