Nov 042019

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Hiller Associates is pleased to announce its first article in SupplyChainBrain!  As usual, it’s on a most fascinating of topics… well at least to us:   Tariffs and their effects on your products.

Here’s a teaser: (but, if you’re just impatient, click here)

Total cost of ownership (TCO) was popularized by Gartner in the 1980s. The basic idea is that the value derived from a product involves more resources than what you pay the supplier.

TCO is essentially a consumer-facing concept, but another term, total cost of acquisition (TCA), has more of a supply-chain and procurement application. In the past, it was less important in the U.S., as the nation gravitated toward free-trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). That has changed under the current administration. In addition, because of automation and the development of manufacturing sites in other countries, TCA is regaining importance in the U.S.

Today, a manufacturer might have multiple choices of suppliers within overwhelmingly complex supply chains. How does the modern purchasing professional sort out which option is best?

Let’s break it down to three steps:

  • What? Understand the supply-chain options strategically.
  • How much? Populate the numbers for each assumption tactically.
  • What does it mean? Quantify the total and understand where the costs are.


Curious?  Yes, you are.  To learn how tariffs can impact your Total Cost of Acquisition / Ownership, read more here!

Oct 172019
ILL-IN... WHAT?!  The vexing performance history of Illinois Football

For the impatient:  To see the analysis of Illinois Football, CLICK HERE! Download the analysis here: ============================================================== Sometimes you just have to step away from helping clients with design-to-value teardowns and ideation and Product Cost Management to consider the less fortunate.  In this case, the less fortunate include our Managing Partner, Eric Arno Hiller, and Read More!

Nov 212017
What should it cost? (Eric publishes on the McKinsey & Company Ops Extranet)

Hello all!   As some of you may know, I joined McKinsey & Company a little over two years ago as an expert in their Product Development Design-to-Value practice.  (Don’t tell anyone, but I do a lot of work for clients in the purchasing space, too!). It’s been a whirlwind of a couple years, but I Read More!

Jun 052014
Relative Cost Power - How to not know the cost of your products and win negotiations, anyway

NEW ARTICLE in by Hiller Associates Synapsis:  No matter how badly you think you are pinned down in a pricing negotiation, there are always tools for leverage that can help you improve your position. Relative should costing is one of these powerful tools. To read the article at, click here. Or, you can Read More!

May 142014
That can’t be right!?  (Linearity and Discontinuity in Pricing and Costing)

Have you ever walked into a dining room with several pictures and seen that one picture that is not hanging parallel to the floor? If you’re a recovering engineer like me, you feel an overwhelming urge to correct the problem. You just can’t be comfortable until the frame is in alignment… unless you find your Read More!

Mar 202014
SEER Composites Brings Cost Estimating to CATIA

Hiller Associates posted the following article at ENGINEERING.COM yesterday.  You can read it there at this link, or just keep reading below! ============================================================= Another solid piton in the cliff of making product cost mainstream in CAD / PLM Products? CATIA users can now get a faster and more effective way to design and source composites Read More!

Mar 182014
DFM Summit with Design-to-Cost Panel Thursday March 20!

  If you are in the New York area and interested in product profit, you should attend the DFM Summit which is THIS THURSDAY MARCH 20?  The event includes sessions on distributed manufacturing, Design-to-Cost, Industrial Design, and networking.   Design-to-Cost Panel The design-to-cost panel will include the following panelists: Jon Hirschtick is the founder and Read More!

Jan 292014
Opposing Forces in your Bill of Materials

We received the following question about Bills of Material (BOMs) from a product development manager: QUESTION: “How does one balance the need of a BOM to be expedient and fast for real world use, while still trying to make an investment in a universal and reusable bomb?” That’s a great question for product development teams. Read More!

Jan 272014
Form, Fit, and Function – A Framework for your Bill of Material

Continuing , the series on the Bill of Material we began with the article Dr. Strangepart: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the BOM, here is a full re-print of the next in the series.  You can find the original at here: ======================= In my post Dr. Strangepart: How I Learned to Read More!

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