Value is the relationship between function and cost. We have all seen products that have been made cheaper to the detriment of performance, but how do we control costs while maintaining or improving the performance?
The answer is by assessing your existing product designs and proposing how we change the form, material or manufacturing methodologies to improve the function, and or reduce cost. Similarly, employing VAVE methodologies during product development of new products, before any capital is invested in tooling, plant or equipment, can mean the difference of economic viability and commercial sense of a product.
The RO team are experienced in both value analysis and value engineering, but what is the difference and how can they be applied to your product?
'Value Analysis' takes place on an existing product. Typically, clients approach us with a product already on the market. By performing value analysis, Engineers can evaluate the product, employing a myriad of different lenses including cost, function, alternative components and design aspects, such as ease of manufacture and assembly. Through this, overall cost can be reduced and function enhanced, making an existing product more commercially viable.
There are many reasons why clients come to us in search of value analysis. Equally, there are many ways in which we can make a difference to existing products. These include:
- Overall cost reduction, such as of materials, parts and production, thus increasing revenue and profit per product. In turn, the VALUE of the product is increased to the customer
- Reduced cost often gives our clients the freedom to either reduce the cost to their customers or invest further into the research and development of new products
- Enhanced function - VA enables improvements to be made to the product in a variety of areas, such as design and engineering, material selection, testing, manufacturing, assembly, shipping, installation, use by the customer, service, maintenance and recycling
- Component rationalisation - often, existing products have been created under tight time constraints, and as a result of competing customer requirements, rather than as a result of deliberate and strategic planning. Value analysis opens the door to cost reduction negotiations based on ordering greater quantities and economies of scale
- Taking advantage of the falling price of technologies
- Increased perceived value of a product in the eyes of the consumer, thus influencing the amount they are willing to pay for it and influencing their choices in the face of rival products. Prestige increases, making ownership more desirable, and marketing easier
- Reduced costs throughout the life of the product, including savings associated with ownership for the consumer
- The ultimate creation of substantial company-wide improvements, thereby delivering significant competitive advantage.
Put simply, the process is termed 'value engineering' if employed before a product gets approval for fabrication - ie. it occurs as part of the design and development stages of a new product. Here, ease of assembly, manufacturability and materials costs are considered and designed in from the outset.
There are a number of methods used by our team, and VAVE differs from product to product depending on need, but all of our work has one thing in common;
So, what does VAVE typically look like within the RO Design Studio? Below we've highlighted just two of the major ways we use VAVE in order to add value to our clients.
Optimisation of your BOM
A bill of materials (BOM) is a comprehensive list of parts, items, assemblies, subassemblies, intermediate assemblies, documents, drawings, and other materials required to create a product. This may include mechanical hardware, electrical components such as PCBAs, software, documents and drawings. The BOM is essentially the recipe given to the manufacturer containing all of the ingredients (materials) to source to build an assembly.
Before mass manufacturing begins, our team of Engineers and Designers compile this detailed BOM document and scrutinise it. Optimisation is achieved when the overall cost of your BOM is reduced. Questions of whether more affordable parts can be used instead of more costly ones, without affecting the overall built quality are asked. Here, a little can mean a lot. Shaving off a matter of pence over several components within the BOM, has a substantial effect on the overall costs of mass manufacture.
Design for Manufacture
Design for Manufacture (DFM) is the process whereby products are designed with ease of manufacturability in mind from the very outset. Our team comprises of a myriad of professionals. Whilst there is much cross-over in what we do, our approach is to supplement the early concepting work performed by our Industrial Designers, with mechanical and manufacturing engineering expertise. The result is that our initial concepts all include sufficient realism so a clear path to production can be defined.
The more simply and quickly a product can be produced and assembled on the production line, the cheaper it is to mass manufacture and the higher the profit margin for our clients.
Taking ideas from concept to reality can involve a lot of difficult decisions along the way; problems are encountered that can only be overcome with a great deal of innovative thinking, teamwork and years of engineering expertise. Balancing aesthetics, retail price and product durability without the loss of functionality can be challenging for even the most experienced teams.
At Raymont-Osman Product Design, we have accumulated decades of engineering experience taking consumer products to market and we are often presented with very difficult constraints in manufacture like undercuts, sink marks, draft angles, and weld lines - all of which can become significant problems if not tackled early in the design process. As well as engineering experience, we have sophisticated design tools including Mould Flow Simulation and analysis software and Finite Element Analysis software that can help predict and avoid manufacturing defects at the design stage.
When you come to produce your next product or review your existing range, we can make the process easier.