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Currently viewing the tag: "cost management"

CostingCost-based Pricing is fast becoming a relic of the past and being substituted by the concept of Target Costing.  Target Costing is referred to as an organized process to determine the cost at which a proposed product must be developed so as to generate profits at the product’s anticipated selling price in future.

In highly competitive markets such as FMCG, construction, healthcare, and energy, prices are determined by market forces.  Producers cannot effectively control selling prices.  The only control, to some extent, is over costs, so management’s focus has to be on influencing every component of product, service, or operational costs.

Target Costing is a proactive Cost Planning, Cost Management, and Cost Reduction practice.  Costs are planned and managed out of a product and business early in product life-cycle, rather than during the later stages.  The fundamental objective of Target Costing is to make the business profitable in any competitive marketplace.  Target Costing is widely used in several industries e.g. manufacturing, energy, healthcare, construction, and a host of others.

Some key features of Target Costing are:

  • Seller is a price taker rather than a price maker.
  • The target selling price incorporates desired profit margin.
  • Product design, specifications, and customer expectations are built-in while formulating the total selling price.
  • Cost reduction and effective cost management is the corner stone of management strategy.
  • Target Cost has to be achieved through team collaboration during activities such as designing, purchasing, manufacturing, marketing, and other activities.

Target Costing presents the following advantages over other product pricing techniques:

  • More value delivered to customer since the product is created keeping in mind the expectation of the customer.
  • Approach to designing and manufacturing products is market driven.
  • Competitive Advantage gained through process improvement and product innovation.
  • Drastic Process Improvement, which creates economies of scale.
  • New market opportunities converted into real savings to achieve the best value for money rather than to simply realize the lowest cost.

The Target Costing process comprises 3 main phases.

  1. Market-Driven Target Costing
  2. Product-Level Target Costing
  3. Component-Level Target Costing

 

Let’s discuss the 3 phases briefly.

1. Market-Driven Target Costing

In this phase, Selling Price is determined by analyzing the entire industry value chain and all functions of the firm.  The focus of this costing phase is on analyzing market conditions and determining the company’s Profit Margin in order to identify the “Allowable Cost” of a product.

In this phase, the desired profit level is set on the basis of firm’s strategy and financial goals, and is deducted from Selling Price to obtain Allowable costs.  Intensity of competition, nature of customers, similar product introduction by competitors, and level of customer sophistication are the key factors influencing Market-driven Target Costing.

2. Product-Level Target Costing

In this phase, Allowable Cost only gives a ball-park figure of cost saving to be achieved.  It has to be translated into Achievable Target Cost.  This type of costing concentrates on designing products that satisfy the company’s customers at the Allowable Cost.  The cardinal rule of Product-level Target Costing is to never exceed the Target Cost.

The objective of this Target Costing phase is to create intense but realistic pressure on the product designers to reduce costs.  Product Strategy (number of products in the line, frequency of redesign, degree of innovation) and product characteristics (complexity, magnitude of up-front investments, and duration of product development) are the key factors affecting Product-level Target Costing.

3. Component- Level Target Costing

The Component-level Target Costing settles the price at which a firm is willing to purchase the externally-acquired components being used in its product.  This phase involves a cross-functional team that is tasked to reduce costs across all functions such as designing, purchasing, manufacturing, marketing, and other activities.

The components cost history serves as the starting point for estimating the new component-level target costs alongside optimal selection of suppliers.  A supplier-focused strategy is the key factor that influences Component-level Target Costing.

Interested in learning more about how the Target Costing process works and its key steps? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Target Costing here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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A commonly quoted statistic is that 80% to 95% of the cost of a product is determined by its design and is therefore set before the item enters manufacturing. This pic 1 5 Cost Management Strategiesassumption suggests that the dominant focus of Cost Management should be during Product Development and not during Manufacturing.

However, contrary to a widely held assumption, companies can integrate a variety of Cost Management techniques not only in the design phase but throughout the product life cycle.  This is to ensure that there is a substantial reduction in costs.  In fact, companies achieving Operational Excellence and competing aggressively on cost might consider the adoption of some form of an Integrated Cost Management Program that spans the entire product life cycle.

An organization must have a good understanding of Integrated Cost Management and the 5 Cost Management Strategies that they can use to reduce costs but still attain the desired level of functionality and quality at the target costs.

The 5 Cost Management Strategies

 The 5 Cost Management Strategies play a crucial role in the company’s integrated approach to Cost Management.

The 5 Cost Management Strategies can be applied throughout the product life cycle with one technique used during the product design and the rest during manufacturing.

  1. Target Costing. This is a technique applied during the design stage. Target Costing is best used when the manufacturing phase of the life cycle of a product is short.
  1. Product-specific Kaizen Costing. This is a technique applied during the early stages of the manufacturing phase. It enables the rapid redesign of a new product to correct for any cost overruns. The primary rule in Product-specific Kaizen Costing is that the product’s functionality and quality have to remain constant.
  1. General Kaizen Costing. The third Cost Management Strategy, this technique is applied during the manufacturing phase. It focuses on the way a product is manufactured with the assumption that the product’s design is already set.  This technique is effective when addressing manufacturing processes that are used across several product generations.
  1. Functional Group Management. This is the technique that is applied in the production process. Functional Group Management consists of breaking the production process into autonomous groups and treating each group as a profit instead of a cost center. The switch to profit as opposed to cost allows groups to increase the throughput of production processes even if changes result in higher costs. It enables the change in mindset that functional group management induces.
  1. Product Costing. The 5th Cost Management Strategy, this is the technique that coordinates the efforts of the other four techniques. It does coordination work by providing the other four techniques with important, up-to-date information.

Target Costing vis-a-vis Kaizen Costing

Kaizen Costing as known as continuous improvement costing.  It is a method of reducing managing costs. Kaizen Costing has a similarity with Target Costing but it also has its differences.  (Note: Kaizen is the Japanese term for Continuous Improvement and often tied to the philosophy of Lean Management.)

Both Kaizen Costing and Target Costing can achieve results with lower resources. This is basically their similarity. On the other hand, the differences lie in their usage and involvement.

Target Costing is used on the design stage and requires the involvement only of designers. On the other hand, Kaizen Costing is used during the manufacturing stage and requires high involvement of employees.  The general idea of Kaizen Costing is to determine target costs, design products, and process to not exceed those costs.

Interested in gaining more understanding of these Cost Management Strategies? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about 5 Cost Management Strategies here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Through this Sunday, learnPPT is having a promo for the Cost Reduction Toolkit.  This detailed document identifies over 45+ cost cutting initiatives across the Value Chain.  For each initiative, examples are provided, along with projected potential savings.

The Cost Management opportunities are broken down into the areas of:

  • Enterprise-wide - These opportunities are cross-functional, meaning they can affect multiple functions within an organization.  The impact is largely to SG&A costs.
  • Asset Management - These opportunities target the improvement of fixed assets efficiency and decreasing net working capital.  The impact is largely capital efficiency.
  • Function-specific - Opportunities in this category are specific to primary and support functional activities.  These are operational and transactional in nature.

This toolkit also explains the levers and challenges to profitability, as well as the formula identifying cost reduction opportunities.

Here’s a partial preview of the PowerPoint presentation.

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