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Activity-Based Costing and Process Modeling for Cost-Conscious Product Design: A Case Study in a Manufacturing Company

Опубликовано на портале: 21-06-2006
International Journal of Production Economics. 2002.  Vol. 79. No. 1. P. 75-82. 
The most effective way to control costs is to design them out of the products. However, cost data is rarely available for product designers in a usable form. The aim of this study was to investigate the possibilities of activity-based costing and the modeling of design, purchasing and manufacturing processes in providing useful cost information for product designers. The hypothesis was that activity-based costing and process modeling might provide an effective tool for the evaluation of different design options. The study was conducted in a large Finnish manufacturing company. First, the most costly items of one product's sub-assembly were studied in order to identify the activities needed to produce the items and to calculate their activity-based costs. Second, the processes, in other words the activity chains, were modeled with graphic flowcharts from product design, purchasing, and manufacturing departments. Finally, the applicability of activity-based cost information and process models to product designing practices was tested. The results of the study suggested that activity-based costing and process modeling provide a good starting point in heading toward more cost-conscious design. This way the designers learn the relationships between the activities performed in the organization and their associated costs. The development of a parametric cost estimation model based on activity-based costing and process modeling provides a challenge for future research.

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