Original Post Date: Monday, April 16, 2012

This year, the PRICE cost research team is kicking off a major research study on electronics.  The field of electronics changes very rapidly, and we want to ensure our estimation methods are well suited for the latest technology.  While we constantly collect data and update relationships, this study will go above and beyond the norm.  We'll visit modern electronics facilities, interview experts, visit customers to discuss their electronics estimating challenges, and start a major data collection and analysis effort.  In the end, we plan to add many new electronic classifications, reexamine our methods for quantifying complexity, and enhance our custom microcircuits guidance.

We recently toured a modern electronics manufacturing facility to get some hands-on experience.  We walked through the facility, going step-by-step through the manufacturing process while seeing it in action, which led to some interesting discussions.  We talked about a variety of topics, such as cost implications of different quality and testing levels, military vs. non-military electronics, and how they manufacture electronics for different operating environments (extreme temperatures, radiation, dust, etc).

These experiences should prove useful in our research.  Right now, we have many hypotheses for what drives the cost of electronics, such as the topics we discussed at the manufacturing facility.  This is especially true for what we believe has changed in recent history in the field of electronics.  As we collect data, we can test these hypotheses and validate our existing estimating methods and algorithms, or develop new ones.  Our meetings with customers ensure that our final product speaks their language and fully addresses their needs.  We’re just getting started – check back for more updates!