Product Cost Management Capabilities for the Enterprise

Concord, Mass.Mar. 7, 2014aPriori, a provider of enterprise product cost management software solutions, announced the latest release of its software platform, aPriori 2014r1. The software delivers new enterprise capabilities that enable users to better predict product costs in complex global manufacturing environments and supply chains; cost more different types of products and parts; and continue to expand usage across the enterprise, so more resources can identify and act on product cost reduction opportunities.

“Global manufacturers face increasing complexity as competitive pressures require multiple product variants tailored to local market preferences,” said Julie Driscoll, aPriori’s vice president of strategic marketing and product management. “Sharp fluctuations in commodity pricing and availability, the increasing cost of outsourcing and related quality concerns, and sourcing decisions that can make or a break a product’s profitability, all these dynamics make it more difficult to accurately predict product costs.

“To manage effectively in these fluid environments, manufacturers need to be able to evaluate multiple cost scenarios in real time, and synchronize their efforts across their design, manufacturing and sourcing organizations. aPriori 2014r1 is specifically designed to help users address the challenges created by this increased complexity and unpredictability.”

The aPriori platform is architectured to provide engineering, design, value engineering, and sourcing professionals with real-time cost information on parts and complete products. It reads 3D computer-aided design files to automate the generation of cost inputs, and uses intelligent cost models to determine feasible manufacturing methods and product costs. The software also enables users to leverage data hosted in other critical enterprise applications to communicate product cost information between all functional organizations involved in product definition and delivery. This includes the import of complex engineering bills of materials (BOMs) from enterprise resource planning (ERP), product lifecycle management (PLM) and other enterprise applications.

aPriori 2014r1 extends the platform to support assessing cost value trade-offs, and increasingly complex manufacturing and sourcing strategies with new enterprise capabilities:

  • New, out-of-the box manufacturing process cost models to expand the types of components and finishing operations aPriori users can cost, and capture the full series of costing events in the product development lifecycle.
  • Easy creation of multiple cost scenarios for product assemblies to improve assessment of cost-value tradeoffs for different assembly alternatives, and speed response time to changes in product design, material and manufacturing processes.
  • Synchronized product design and cost information across the globe to increase collaboration across globally distributed design and manufacturing organizations, reducing costs and time to market.

“Most product cost management solutions enable cost experts to generate and analyze cost estimates,” added Driscoll. “That’s helpful, but limited in potential impact. By providing individuals across manufacturing organizations with the ability to assess complete product assemblies, collaborate with cost experts, and consider all the different potential cost scenarios across design, build and sourcing, we can help manufacturers prevent critical cost surprises, effectively manage to more aggressive cost targets and deliver a much greater return on investment (ROI) to their organizations.”

Specific features available in aPriori 2014r1 include:

  • Gear-making, including out-of-the-box models for hobbing, broaching, shaping, spline rolling, conjugate face milling, shaving, and gear grinding to cost various types of gears, splines and sprockets.
  • Two-model machining using CAD models of near-net form parts and finished parts to calculate the cost of machined castings and forgings. This simplifies the costing process, requires less user input, and provides more precise cycle time and cost estimates.
  • Stock machining and secondary machining enhancements, providing user-guided automation and more powerful diagnostic tools to enable more accurate and complete costs for heavily machined parts, which may drive the cost of a product.
  • A new cost guide that helps users generate complete, accurate costs via user-guided inputs and prompts.
  • Flexible assembly scenario costing and analysis, which streamlines the evaluation of multiple assembly configurations and cost alternatives, such as variance in annual volumes or manufacturing location. Highlights include the ability to create and edit assembly scenarios, and copy welds from one assembly to another.
  • Bulk costing improvements that enables super users and cost engineers to execute batch cost runs that generate multiple scenarios for the same component and examine what-ifs and alternatives.
  • Support for global “should cost” strategies for companies that want to have customized and consistent cost logic feeding multiple regional supply and manufacturing cost scenarios.
  • Database synchronization that automates the exchange and synchronization of selected aPriori data between multiple distinct aPriori databases in distributed geographical locations.
  • Support for costing JT file format components.

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