Jan 232014
 
BOM Away from Hiller Associates

Yesterday, we began a series of articles at one of our media partners, www.ENGINEERING.com.  Instead, of focusing on Product Cost Management, we are focusing on another maddeningly difficult problem with critical implications to the Firm:  structuring the Bill of Material to promote ease of use… and re-use.  We will reprint the article below, and you can view the original here:

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A few months ago, unleaded client and asked me an interesting question.   That question was how does one reconcil the tension between specific parts or hardware vs. the functional use in the product of those parts.    This client was from a major fortune 500 company with a bill of material (BOM) containing thousands of parts on each product.  I was a bit taken aback, at first, by this question.  Although it is a very difficult question and subject, I assumed that most major companies were old hands at dealing with this tension.  I was wrong.

This reminded me that something that might seem old hat or common sense to one person, might be very interesting to another.  For example, when I graduated from the university and went to work for Ford Motor Company, I was taught that the Ford part numbering system.  Ford uses a system for parts that is an intelligent part numbering system, in which the part number makes it obvious which product programs , functional type of hardware, and what version of the part is being described

Hiller Associates - Intelligent Part Numbers

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This system of numbering parts has been around for goodness knows how long.  It is no great secret in the auto industry.  I’m sure every person at Chrysler, GM, the foreign auto companies know the Ford system of numbering parts.  In fact, apparently , eBay even teaches us about the Ford part numbering system.  It’s very straightforward and makes complete sense.  As a young engineer, fresh out of school, who didn’t know any better, I assumed that every company had a similar intelligent part numbering system.  However, when I gained a little bit more experience and maturity, I realized that Ford’s ingenious but simple system was not so common sense at all throughout industry.  In fact, most companies I have met in manufacturing have nothing more than a sequential part numbering system that tells nothing about the part for which you were looking.

The point here is not for me to glorify the Ford part numbering system.  I’m sure there are companies with even better and more intelligent part numbering systems out there.  In fact, we don’t even have to go back into the horrors of the group technology fad in the late eighties or early nineties to know that!  No, my point is that relatively simple and logical ways of classifying (but not over classifying things!) on the BOM can really help us in our management of engineering parts and the product.

Therefore, in the next few weeks, I plan to post a series of articles that talk about these ways that we can view the bill of material and help ourselves and our company.  I look forward to hearing what other experts in the product life cycle management will have to say in comments.

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Nov 222013
 
Hiller Associates & CIMdata Publish Most Extensive Research to Date on Product Cost Management

Hello Product Cost Management World! We have been off the air for a little while, but we are coming back on with a bang. It’s finally here, the long awaited 2013 Hiller Associates and CIMdata report: Product Cost Management in Discrete Manufacturing That’s right, this week Hiller Associates, partnering with CIMdata (a leading analyst firm Read More!

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Jul 122013
 
Comparing Quote Apples with Estimate Oranges

Today we are reposting the article we wrote this week for ENGINEERING.com.  The original article is here and our announcement of our partnership with ENGINEERING.com is here.  Enjoy! === One of the most frustrating things for many engineers is understanding the quotes they receive from their suppliers. They want to know how these quotes compare Read More!

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Jul 102013
 
Hiller Associates becomes an author on Engineering.com

  Hiller Associates has been invited to become an author on ENGINEERING.com.   The Canadian company, headquartered in Ontario, has become one of the most influential voices in engineering worldwide.  ENGINEERING.com reaches thousands of people, who work in the many disciplines of engineering, every day with the freshest and best content on a variety of subjects, including: Read More!

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Jun 272013
 
The Lake Wobegon effect: there are no laggards in Product Cost Management

Anyone who has ever heard the famous NPR show the Prairie Home Companion will smile warmly, remembering warm and disarming voice of legendary storyteller Garrison Keilor talking about the fictitious Minnesotan town, Lake Wobegon. Garrison’s sign-off to the show has entered pop culture: “And that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, Read More!

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Jun 242013
 
Is the View Worth the Climb in Product Cost Management?

  I worked with a colleague once that used the expression: “Is the view worth the climb?”   That’s an interesting expression and a very visceral way of expressing the fear that we all have when undertaking a new project in our companies. New projects always require not only capital in the form of money, Read More!

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Jun 172013
 
Crossing Over from Classical Product Cost Management to being a PCM Rock Star

  We spend a lot of time thinking about how organizations can improve Product Cost Management. After all, it’s our job at Hiller Associates, but we’re also very passionate about it. We’ve often wondered, why is it that there are so many people in Product Cost Management who are very intelligent and hardworking individuals, and Read More!

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Jun 032013
 
Product Cost Management Precision... Ignorance is Bliss

Numbers. They have such a comforting certainty to them, don’t they? Words can be interpreted. But, numbers, they have that beautiful mathematical ring of truth. I was thinking about this the other day, when I got a number from a friend. I was helping him review a model he had made, and I asked him Read More!

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May 222013
 
If Your Company Does Product Cost Reductions, It's Already Too Late

As we posted on Monday, Hiller Associates has a new article in IndustryWeek titled: If Your Company Does Product Cost Reductions, It’s Already Too Late Here’s the full re-print of the article: ———————————————————————————————————————————————— Refocusing product cost management efforts from cost reduction to cost avoidance is less comfortable but far more profitable. Executive Summary Product cost Read More!

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