Achieve Faster Time to Market by Improving Cost Engineering

Faster time to market is a key objective for all product development teams today. Product teams that achieve faster time to market are more likely to secure advantages in market and revenue share. It also ensures that new product introduction (NPI) strategies are successful as the team’s launch targets are being met.

At the center of it all are cost engineering teams that play a crucial role in speeding up new product launches. They provide early cost estimates and actionable design guidance across the product team to help launch new products at the right time. Digital manufacturing simulation software supports these cost team tasks through on-demand cost estimates that are cognizant of real-world conditions.

This post discusses the role of cost engineers in reducing time to market for NPIs. It also presents how cost teams can use manufacturing simulation to speed up the life cycle management process to get products to market faster.

What Is Time to Market and Why Does It Matter?

Time to market is the length of time from product ideation to initial launch. It is known that time to market gives companies a competitive edge in a market. It provides the means to gain early customer loyalty for a low-cost but high-quality new product. Faster time to market enables companies to get their products in front of customers earlier, setting them up to achieve a larger market share.

Focus on Cost to Get New Products to Market Faster

Modernizing the product development process is crucial in accelerating time to market for NPIs. Based on a McKinsey & Co. study, product teams that modernize their internal functions can reduce time to market by 30 to 50 percent. They can also improve the productivity of all their functional areas by as much as 26 percent.

Faster Time to Market

There is an opportunity for product teams to reduce time to market when they look to optimize the costing function. They must adopt advanced software and a cost-first approach to speed up how costs are estimated internally. Here are three ways teams can improve product costing to ensure faster time to market:

1. Use a Design-to-Cost Approach

Product teams need to adopt a design-to-cost (DTC) approach to reduce time to market for new products. DTC practices ensure that cost is designed into a new product during the infancy stages. This helps eliminate late-stage costly redesigns and engineering change orders (ECOs) in the product life cycle. At its core, DTC allows teams to spend less time redesigning products to ensure they achieve faster time to market. 

2. Adopt Manufacturing Simulation Software

Manufacturing simulation software gives product teams a single source of truth for real-time and accurate cost data. This ensures that all life cycle departments have the right product cost estimates at the right time. The software helps teams save time by centralizing cost details so they can make decisions faster and get products to market quicker.

The software uses digital factories to simulate the way in which the real world may impact product costs in the design phase. It can be configured to estimate costs based on real factory conditions, manufacturing processes, labor rates, materials and more. This automation gives teams an accurate and quick way to control product costs to meet cost targets and launch dates.

To get started with manufacturing simulation software, cost engineers must integrate their existing product life cycle management (PLM) systems with the software. The simulation software can then automatically assess the 3D CAD design files stored in the PLM. As a result, product cost and manufacturability feedback are generated to help life cycle teams improve the development process.

3. Know the Impact of Cost Engineering Teams

The role of cost engineers is to share cost insights across the product team to facilitate DTC. They look to influence colleagues to prioritize cost in each stage of the product life cycle, such as in design and sourcing. To spread the wealth of their knowledge, cost teams must trade their legacy, time-consuming costing tools for simulation-driven cost analysis software.

Cost teams that leverage manufacturing simulation can increase their influence early in product development. For instance, they can use the software to estimate product costs and provide accurate and early cost-reduction feedback to the design team. This gives the design team time to optimize their products for cost well before launch deadlines. Teams that design their products for cost can reduce the risk of late-stage ECOs that impede faster time to market.

Cost experts can use manufacturing simulation to support the sourcing team with supplier negotiations. They can make use of the software’s bulk costing to analyze the cost of thousands of new products at once. Bulk costing identifies cost outliers to give sourcing teams should-cost estimates on how much they should spend on parts. Sourcing teams can then negotiate with suppliers based on facts to save money on components faster in the development cycle.

The Bottom Line: Cost Engineers Need Automation to Ensure Faster Time to Market

Due to rising competition, cost engineers need automated, simulation-driven software to help streamline production cycles to gain a first-mover advantage. With the power of manufacturing simulation, cost teams have early insights into product cost and manufacturability issues, so they can share timely cost-reduction feedback. This ensures that products are designed for cost right from the start and that product parts are procured at the best value. Above all, it allows product teams to achieve faster time to market when releasing their low-cost but high-quality products.

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