THE CONCEPT OF VALUE
The value of a product will be interpreted in different ways by different customers. Value is subjective. Just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, value is highly dependent upon perspective. Frequently, the analyst will discover that the different perspectives will lead to conflicting definitions of value. But usually its common characteristic is a high level of performance, capability, emotional appeal, style, etc. relative to its cost. This can also be expressed as maximizing the function of a product relative to its cost: Value = (Performance + Capability)/Cost = Function/Cost
Value is not a matter of minimizing cost. In some cases the value of a product can be increased by increasing its function (performance or capability) and cost as long as the added function increases more than its added cost. The concept of functional worth can be important. Functional worth is the lowest cost to provide a given function. However, there are less tangible "selling" functions involved in a product to make it of value to a customer.
INTRODUCTION TO VALUE ANALYSIS
Lawrence Miles conceived of Value Analysis (VA) in the 1945 based on the application of function analysis to the component parts of a product. The technique simultaneously pursues two complimentary objectives: •
Maximizing the utility provided by the product or service •
Minimizing or eliminating waste.
The analyst's goal is to eliminate as much of the non-value-added elements as possible by reengineering the design of the product or process. Equally important, the analyst also considers the possibility of substituting functionally equivalent elements for the value-added elements of the product or process design. In the latter case, a substitution is justified when the functionality of the element is maintained or enhanced at a reduced cost to the producer. Value analysis may be applied to the design and redesign of products, services, and processes Component cost reduction was an effective and popular way to improve "value" when direct labor and material cost determined the success of a product. The value analysis technique supported cost reduction activities by relating the cost of components to their function contributions. Value analysis defines a "basic function" as anything that makes the product work or sell. A function that is defined as "basic" cannot change. Secondary functions, also called "supporting functions", described the manner in which the basic function(s) were implemented. Secondary functions could be modified or eliminated to reduce product cost. Finally, design changes may be proposed to eliminate, reduce, or replace elements that fail to add sufficient value to the overall product or process. As VA progressed to larger and more complex products and systems, emphasis shifted to "upstream" product development activities where VA can be more effectively applied to a product before it reaches the production phase. However, as products have become more complex and sophisticated, the technique needed to be adapted to the "systems" approach that is involved in many products today. As a result, value analysis evolved into the "Function Analysis System Technique" (FAST)
VALUE ANALYSIS METHOD:
Identifying the function in the broadest possible terms provides the greatest potential for divergent thinking because it gives the greatest freedom for creatively developing alternatives. A function should be identified as to what is to be accomplished by a solution and not how it is to be accomplished. How the function is identified determines the scope, or range of solutions that can be considered. That functions designated as "basic" represent the operative function of the item or product and must be maintained and protected. Determining the basic function of single components can be relatively simple. By definition then, functions designated as "basic" will not change, but the way those functions are implemented...
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