Our costing engine technology

uses an Activity Based Costing method. In the Virtual Factory model of which the Costing Engine is the executing module, all costs, fixed and variable, direct and indirect, are used to automatically calculate the hourly rates of the individual "operations", direct labour and supporting departments. All overheads are proportionally allocated to the defined hourly rates.

Operations are key cost elements

in the virtual factory model. They represent the definition of the producing elements. Both automatic and manual, in-line and stand-alone activities are called operations, each consisting of one or more processes.

The operation definitions are not only based on operation type, technology, operator involvement, batch size and physical constraints. The processes are also defined for annual costs, operational time elements, line occupancy and process configuration. Together they create the dynamic, rules-driven calculation models for every thinkable manufacturing c.q. test operation. The intelligent configuration support system assists in the definition and fine-tuning of the operations.

The operations' definition results in the exact operation hourly rates, unused capacity costs and all the background checks for product, technology, shape code and process limitations, including component process sensitivity levels (PSL) verifications, feeder allocation limitations or missing tape feeders for a new shape code.

The concept of “bottleneck time definition” is used in the operations time calculations to calculate accurate production times and costs.

Other manufacturing costs considered

Other manufacturing costs in the costing engine are divided into direct compensated costs and overheads.

1) Direct compensated costs

  • Direct labour costs; the cost of all wages and benefits of the direct labour employees and temporary workers who work directly on the products.
  • Other direct compensated costs; the costs of the supporting departments: production engineering, test engineering, quality control and purchasing, directly allocatable to production*).

*) For many EMS providers, it is not desirable to absorb the entire costs of the aforementioned production supporting departments in the overhead costs. This benefits the more complex jobs but is detrimental to the easier jobs. QuoteArchitect enables a percentage of the annual available hours per department to be defined as direct hours, to allow the correct costs to be allocated to a production job. Typical examples are the cost of purchasing for a complex prototype with many BOM items, or test engineering for a particular job. The departmental costs not directly allocated to production are allocated to overheads as “indirect compensated costs”.

2) Overhead costs

  • Genuine overhead, under which are included all standard overhead costs:
  1. Overall company expenses (commercial, general and administrative)
  2. Manufacturing overhead (facility costs, energy, maintenance, etc.)
  • Indirect compensated costs are the costs of the supporting departments: production engineering, test engineering, quality control and purchasing, not directly allocatable to production.
  • Production overhead; the sum of the costs of unused production capacity**)

    **) For some  “operations”, the occupancy rate can initially or permanently be lower or even low. However, inclusion of all costs of such an operation in the few products to be processed is unrealistic. For every operation, the QA rules engine calculates the costs per hour, based on the standard production hours per annum and multiplies these by the estimated real production hours for the year, to arrive at the amount for direct costs. The difference between the total annual costs and the direct costs is the “production overhead”.

    The user can decide to how much detail the costs will be defined. For the calculations, QA accepts, for instance, a lump sum for genuine overhead, but a detailed cost specification is also possible. The production overhead figure is automatically derived from the virtual factory operation definitions.

    Certain costs can be omitted from the model. E.g. (some of) the company management costs can be absorbed in the commercial mark-up when calculating the sales prices. The virtual factory model is flexible in order to accommodate any thinkable cost modelling scenario.

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