Value Engineering
"We don't purchase glasses, we purchase vision"

In an engineering environment value can be defined as the lowest cost for reliably performing an essential function. Having defined value, we can define value engineering as, the objective study of a system or product so as to identify all cost factors and eliminates or reduces the cost of all those factors which do not contribute to the overall usefulness of the system or/product. Going a step further, what is important is not only eliminating unnecessary costs, but also determining why such things were put into the design in the first place. Once this is determined, necessary changes should be incorporated into the design process to avoid such designs in the future products.

For any system or component, two kinds value can be associated – functional value and esteem value. Functional value reflects the properties or the qualities of a system or component that accomplish the intended function. To achieve maximum functional value is to achieve the lowest possible cost in providing the performance function. Esteem value is composed of characteristics like attractiveness, appeal that make ownership of such a product desirable.

Value analysis is basically carried out in two stages. The first stage is the analytical stage in which various cost factors are investigated. Value of a product/component can be investigated by subjecting it to the following questions:

  • Does its use contribute value?
  • Is its cost proportionate to its usefulness?
  • Does it need all of its features?
  • Is anything better (or any suitable standard part) available for the intended use?
  • Can it be made by any other lower cost method? Etc.

The second stage is the so-called creative stage in which the findings from the analytical stage are reviewed and decisions are taken to balance the functional value and the esteem value of the product.