Value added engineering is a broad term used to describe design options at the start of the new product development process. This method of engineering is meant to introduce a fresh set of eyes to an existing problem and to apply the most efficient solutions possible through the use of applicable pieces from other projects. The use of proven designs and parts to solve issues encountered during the product development process can have a positive impact on costs, timelines, and functionality.
How Does Value Added Engineering Contribute to Product Development?
Ideally, value added engineering is used during the beginning stages of a project to make certain determinations that lead to a design standing out from competing products. This focus:
- Compares product functionality to its anticipated production costs
- Takes an in-depth look into the materials and tools being used to provide the ideal spectrum of product features
- Helps obtain a clearer sense of the viability and profitability of a project
The resulting gains of using value added engineering come about through a process which allows a project team to blend innovative technology into proven product designs. Doing so breathes new life into stalled or seemingly stale project ideas. This is accomplished by addressing common project pain points through the leveraging of lessons learned and process enhancements gleaned from existing product lines, leading to rapid improvements in production processes.
Identify Pain Points Through Production Analysis
It is always tempting to push through project issues with the intention of resolving issues down the road in an effort to remain aligned to an established timeline. Unfortunately, this far too common approach can lead to inferior products or have the opposite effect on a project timeline. The first part of value added engineering—the identification of pain points through analysis— ensures that all efforts within a project from start to finish are painstakingly detailed and designed with precision. The process looks like this:
- The initial concept is compared to similar project efforts as the engineering team seeks simple ways to use established parts and processes for the new design.
- Then, your team develops a strategy to implement the new with the old; even to the point of using parts from existing products as is or with slight modifications within the new product.
- This results in a seamless pairing of known production factors and processes with new, innovative wrinkles to maximize performance and cost-effectiveness.
Implement Changes Into the Design
Having a complete analysis in hand provides a project team with the necessary facts which supply the required design changes. But knowing the full weight that any one of these changes can have on a product is a little more difficult to forecast. Because of this, there may exist some critical design or performance gaps within the project—gaps that can lead to costly overruns or functional mistakes that can threaten the impact of your product on the market.
This is where the experience of an expert manufacturing consultant can be invaluable to a project initiative. They will lend the experience of past engagements to your project team, and work alongside them in a collaborative effort to implement the most crucial and necessary changes into the design. Doing so reduces potential waste points that can further impede the progress of product development instead of lending to its efficiency or a rapid development strategy.
Cost Reduction Through Efficiency
The addition of proven production methods and completing the design puzzle using proven part or system pieces is what ultimately drives cost reductions. Instead of building everything from the ground up, it becomes a matter of adding proven technology and system designs to the design concept to round out the functionality of a product. This hastens the pace of product development, which is only the start of the resulting cost reductions.
The use of established technology within an innovative new product saves time and money, from design and testing and through manufacturing. An engineering consultant will be able to further drive these cost reductions thanks to the volumes of technical resources they have accumulated from previous engagements. This blend of expertise, established best-practice processes, and supplemental technical staff will help your project get to the finish line faster and under budget.
Evaluation and Adjustment Must Follow a Precise Script
As wonderful as it would be to achieve perfection immediately, it is likely that some adjustments will need to be made to your product. Whether it is a flaw uncovered in a prototype, or a color scheme that doesn’t pass muster with your marketing team, you will want to have the ability to make an adjustment rapidly and at a minimum investment of costs and time. The processes used in discovery, remediation, and the execution of both, are of vital importance to minimize risks.
The most effective methodology to adopt for maintaining vigilance over your creation is to create and execute a set of repetitive scripted tasks. The ability to build and utilize a script that provides an efficient way to execute a consistent cycle of evaluation and adjustments becomes even better with the input from an experienced partner. Your partner will have likely been there before, so why not use what they can bring to the table to reduce costs and risks in producing your vision?
Value Added Engineering Gives You a Powerful Partner
Using value added engineering helps your project team compare product functionality to cost of production. From here, you can leverage proven design and production strategies to reduce risks and costs, while adding known components into your innovative design will cut timelines, giving you a powerful partner as you drive your project forward.
PRL’s engineers have dozens of manufacturing options available to help you solve any challenge facing your product: CNC machining, custom tooling, 3D printing, thermoplastic molding, reverse engineering, and more. No matter what stage your product is currently at, we can create it and optimize it for manufacturing.