Knowledge Based Sourcing III – The Cost Modelling Process

Monday’s post introduced us to Knowledge Based Sourcing (KBS), Booz Allen’s entrance to the Next Generation Supply Management Arena. Yesterday’s post introduced us to the philosophy of the KBS approach that is focussed on gaining an increased understanding and knowledge of ‘ideal’ cost structures that can be used to develop better relationships with suppliers, focused on reality based improvement plans, to gain an ongoing business advantage. This philosophy revolved around a four-step continuous improvement cycle that started, and ended, with Cost Model Generation.

Today’s post is going to drive into the five-step process that is used to generate the cost models that drive Knowledge Based Sourcing.

  1. Engage Suppliers
    Introduce them to the KBS methodology that will be used to drive the supply management process going forward. Explain the benefits to both sides and review the promises that KBS makes to the supply base. Make sure they know that the goal is to reduce underlying cost (driver)s, not their profit, and provide continual advantages to all parties going forward.
  2. Collect Cost Information
    Start with conference calls to validate cost component templates and starting costs. Follow-up with on-site visits to validate general ledger information and confirm cost information with controller/CFO.
  3. Develop Starting Cost Models
    Detail component raw materials and processes required to build the product from the component level upward. Then identify a best-in-class cost structure and operational model based on market research. Finally, evaluate impact of cost drivers and fine-tune the model appropriately.
  4. Calibrate Cost Models
    Test the sensitivity of critical assumptions, internal demand scenarios, and cost models against current products. Include other TCO/TVM parameters as appropriate (to account for defects, brand power, etc.) and fine-tune the model(s) as appropriate.
  5. Communicate Gaps
    For each supplier, provide cost element performance breakdown detail, focussing on those areas where the supplier is weakest. Classify the savings opportunity based on projected spend/volume, and then work with the supplier(s) to create collaborative action plans to close the gap.

Once the gaps are identified, the Supply Management department works with the supplier to reduce costs. This often involves the identification of appropriate lean manufacturing techniques to decrease setup time, reduce process steps, reduce delays between process steps, reduce variation, reduce manufacturing footprint, and reduce lead-time while increasing quality and reliability (as this decreases defect rates and return costs).

It’s a solid process, and correctly applied, will yield solid results.