HAMPSHIRE, England / May 16, 2005 / To follow-up an article in the January 2005 edition of PRICE INSight, "Virtual Cost Engineering Studio to Aide SME's," progress continues on the Internet-based cost estimating service, Virtual Cost Engineering Studio (V-CES), which has been approved for funding by the European Union's Sixth Framework Program (EU FP6) for research and technological development.
For several years, interest has been building in many industries to formalize and improve cost engineering practices and methodologies. Professional organizations and OEMs in, for example, aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding and defense systems have started to develop cost engineering best practices. A common goal across industry sectors is to communicate the best practices down through supply chains, which in turn helps suppliers improve costing at the lowest, component-build levels.
The V-CES project will implement a virtual infrastructure for European OEMs and their suppliers to share cost engineering best practices. In the process, closer cooperation, stronger business relationships and tighter cost controls are anticipated.
Key features of the V-CES service will include browser-based access to a cost information database, a "mentor" to assist with cost estimates, and a "mentor" to guide the training of engineers in costing techniques.
V-CES is being developed by a consortium of organizations coordinated by IZET Innovationszentrum Itzehoe, a services company that specializes in entrepreneurship and technology transfer. Hamburg-based IZET has built a reputation as an incubator for startup, high-tech companies in microtechnology and IT applications, and has established one of the leading "innovation centres" in Germany. Cranfield University in the UK serves as the technical leader of the consortium.
PRICE Systems and two other companies, Centro Ricerche FIAT and DAS GmbH, serve as the consortium's industrial partners and first trial users of V-CES. Centro Ricerche FIAT, headquartered near Torino, Italy, is an independent R&D organization and recognized centre-of-excellence with a high-profile role in Europe from promoting and performing collaborative research and innovation development. DAS GmbH, based in Dresden, Germany is an industrial manufacturer that supports semiconductor and other high-tech industries, and represents the SME (small-to-medium enterprise) user component of V-CES.
PRICE Systems' contributions to the consortium rest with two key project deliverables. First, PRICE is responsible for reporting on the test procedure for V-CES prototype Version 1.0. This will draw on previous work conducted by the team to ensure that the products are fit for purpose, reliable and satisfy intended users' requirements. Version 1.0 testing will be conducted using four suitable test beds in three countries.
The second PRICE deliverable will be to conduct tests and compile a report on the following V-CES components:
By combining the knowledge of the V-CES team with the experience and facilities of PRICE Systems, the V-CES work package has a high probability of success.