How is Value Engineering Used in Manufacturing Automation?

Value Engineering is a systematic approach to providing necessary functions for a project while maintaining the lowest possible costs. It is used to improve the value of a product by reducing its cost and increasing its functionality.

The Value Engineering concept was first introduced in the 1940s. During the war, there was a shortage of components. The engineers needed to find substitute materials. The substitutes often reduced costs while providing equal or better performance. Value Engineering is best performed before the design process is done. This allows experts to incorporate the option of using alternative methods and materials. Most engineering projects call for a team approach, where subject matter experts (SMEs) work together to execute the value methodology. 

What is Value Engineering as it Relates to Manufacturing Automation? 

The value of an item is defined as the most cost-effective way of making a product without detracting from its purpose. 

What are Some Benefits of Optimizing Automated Operations in Manufacturing? 

  • Reductions in operating costs 
  • Increased performance 
  • Greater productivity 
  • Improved reliability 

What Steps are Taken During the Value Engineering Process? 

Information Gathering This phase involves gathering project information as well as honing the goals of the project. Data is collected and analyzed. The collected information is used to finalize the priorities of the project and areas that need improvement.
Function AnalysisThis phase includes determining the functions of the project and identifying each element that is under evaluation.  The function is defined as the set of targets to be attained.  
Brainstorming/Creative This phase includes exploring ways to perform the functions mentioned above. Team members brainstorm about alternatives to existing methods or systems that are in use.  
Evaluating Solutions The pluses and minuses of each solution as well as alternative solutions are listed during the evaluation phase. The team will be able to describe the advantages and disadvantages of each potential solution. 
Development and Analysis An in-depth analysis is done during the development phase and an implementation cost analysis is performed. Examining each alternative may include cost estimates, sketches, and other technical analyses. 
Presentation of Best Solutions During the presentation phase, the team meets with management as well as other stakeholders.  They present their final report to stakeholders using flow charts, write-ups, and other presentation materials.  The goal is to convince stakeholders that their final ideas from the development phase should be implemented. 
Implementation Stage Implementation of the project begins after management’s approval of team recommendations.  If there are changes requested by the decision-makers, the changes will be incorporated into the implementation plan.

What Are Some Examples of How Value Engineering is Used in Manufacturing? 

 Example #1: A manufacturer was producing machinery that was lacking in the areas of reliability and performance.

A Value Engineering team analyzed the design, materials, and manufacturing processes that created the machinery.  The Value Engineering team found areas for improvement. Their suggestions included: 

● Using a different manufacturing process. This would result in performance improvement for the product. 

● A redesign of specific components for greater durability. These changes resulted in improved functionality and reliability of the product.  

This process led to a reduction in costs and increases in customer satisfaction.

Example #2: A new product is in the design stage. Its life cycle will be two years. The product will be designed with the most cost-effective resources and materials. These resources and materials will be effective until the end of the life cycle of the product. This will save the manufacturer money. The end consumer also saves money. 

Who Can I Contact if I Have Questions about Value Engineering for my business? 

JHFOSTER is committed to providing solutions that increase efficiencies and exceed production demands.  We reduce manufacturing costs while raising your company’s level of success. One of our automation specialists can assist you in finding the right technology for the needs of your business.  

Contact an expert at JHFOSTER today. A JHFOSTER representative is available at 855.688.0043