What does Real-Time Costing mean?

In order for information to be useful in decision making, it must not only be timely (Predictive), but also it must not take more time than it’s worth to generate. Designing, sourcing, and planning the manufacture of a product are fast moving activities of today’s product development environment. Cost is an extremely important product attribute, but it is not the only attribute. The right product must launch at the right time with the right cost. Therefore to be effective, a Product Cost Management solution must provide cost visibility at the speed of product development… in Real-Time.

How does aPriori provide a Real-Time cost assessment?

  • aPriori automatically evaluates the CAD geometry for cost drivers – Because aPriori is directly linked to the solid model in the CAD system, it can tap into the richness of the information the engineer has already built. There is no need for manual entry of the part or assembly geometry, which is a major driver of product cost, into aPriori’s Product Cost Management system. Instead, aPriori extracts the needed Geometric Cost Drivers (GCDs) every time the CAD user adds to or changes the CAD model. The user of aPriori sees this cost responsively change in the aPriori Cost Ticker (see figure below).

  • The aPriori Process Routing Engine – Product geometry and material specifications require the right processes to manufacture. aPriori is able to provide the manufacturing plan to the user by using the aPriori Process Routing Engine. The Routing Engine provides the correct sequence of processes to manufacture the part. It does this by matching geometry, material, production volume and other Cost Drivers with the processes and routings of processes necessary to (a) produce all the geometry (b) obey the manufacturing strategy of the selected facility (Virtual Production Environment).
  • Virtual Production Environments (VPEs) – A VPE is a virtual model of your factory or your suppliers’ factories that contains the information relevant to assessing the cost of products made in those factories. aPriori’s Product Cost Management platform is able to hold as many VPEs as you have factories or suppliers. Once a VPE is built it requires minimal maintenance to keep up to date and provides an instant cost (internal factories) or price (suppliers) for the part or assembly you are manufacturing.

Why is knowing cost Real-Time so important?

  • Reduce the time to get a cost of your product before launch from weeks to seconds – Most managers would love to know the cost of their projects every day, but often cost roll-ups are only done every few months. The problem is that roll-ups are a full time job for at least one person. aPriori provides Roll-ups on demand and in Real-Time. At the end of each day, management can see all the changes that occurred to the product’s cost.
  • Explore the cost of design alternatives as fast as you can think of them - In the past the only predictive cost assessment methods were expert opinion, comparative quoting, or lengthy analyses by hand or using complicated estimation systems. Although predictive, the information provided by these methods takes too long to calculate for effective cost management. Design happens at the speed of the engineers mind. Having Real-Time costs means that instead of being able to explore one or two alternatives, the designer can explore as many as his mind produces.
  • Reduce cost continuously – Today costing occurs when the part is complete and ready to be costed. However, aPriori can cost in Real-Time from the start of the design. The Cost Ticker will respond with every regeneration of the CAD model, allowing the designer to explore and reduce cost from the earliest stages of the design.
  • Get 'Should-Costs' and Initial Quotes in seconds – If you want to explore more suppliers’ prices and internal factories costs without waiting days or weeks for a response, you need your costs in Real-Time.

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