There is a general belief among organizations that a large percentage of a product’s costs are locked in by design. It is assumed that little can be done once the design is set. This assumption has influenced cost management programs across diverse products’ life cycles. As a result, the focus during the design phase is Cost Reduction and Cost Containment during the manufacturing phase.
Yet, organizations that operated in a highly competitive market and demanded aggressive cost management showed that costs can be aggressively managed throughout the product life cycle. Various cost management strategies or techniques may be used to increase the program’s overall effectiveness. One of them is the Integrated Cost Management.
A Purview on Integrated Cost Management
Integrated Cost Management is every organization’s prescription for lower cost and higher profits. It is the 21st business approach to achieving Cost Management efficiency.
Integration is necessary for Strategy Development as it can promote the achievement of the company’s profit objectives. In fact, there are major benefits to Integrated Cost Management. One of which is lowering of overall costs throughout the product life cycle.
Integrated Cost Management can facilitate a steady decrease in costs all the way to discontinuance. In fact, it can result in an annual cost reduction of about 17% during manufacturing, savings that exceed 30$%, and a designed-in cost of below 70%.
Achieving this requires an understanding of the Integrated Cost Management Approach.
The Integrated Cost Management Approach
The Integrated Cost Management Approach focuses on the integration of cost management techniques which can lead to higher levels of cost reduction and superior overall performance.
The Integrated Cost Management Approach takes into consideration 5 Cost Management Strategies.
- Target Costing. This is the technique used or applied during the design stage. It is a feed-forward mechanism that enables the retooling of the design of new products to reduce costs while maintaining the desired level of product functionality and quality.
- Product-Specific Kaizen Costing. This is a technique that enables the rapid redesign of a new product during the early stages of manufacturing to correct any cost overruns. (Note: Kaizen is the general term for Continuous Improvement and often associated with Lean Management.)
- General Kaizen Costing. General Kaizen Costing is a technique that focuses on the way a product is manufactured with the assumption that the product’s design is already set. It is generally effective in addressing manufacturing processes that are used across several product generations.
- Functional Group Management. This is a technique that is used to break down the production process into autonomous groups and treat each as a profit center.
- Product Costing. Product Costing is a technique that coordinates the efforts of the other four (4) techniques by providing important, up-to-date information.
The 5 Cost Management Strategies enable organizations to better manage costs throughout the product life cycle, with just one (1) technique taking place during the product design and the rest during manufacturing.
The Key Takeaways
The application of the 5 Cost Management strategies has its key takeaways. These can be used as a guidepost in its application and a model of general concepts that organizations may consider.
One key takeaway is significant savings can still be achieved with short life cycle products and aggressive cost management focused on product design. Taking to note this key takeaway, we have to consider that as the length of the manufacturing phase of the product’s life cycle increases, the opportunity for cost reduction increases. Further, there is a need to explore the value of integrating multiple cost management during manufacturing.
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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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