The main objective of the project is to develop methods for estimating manufacturing costs in mechanical engineering and to create a software tool on the basis of a new methodology.
The main exploitable results of the METACOST Project are:
- a tool-box of advanced methods of cost estimation
which contains a description of traditional costing practices their limits and drawbacks, as well as a critical analysis of different known cost estimation procedures.
- two software prototypes, METACOST Tool 1 and Tool 2,
which were developed according to the requirements set up by the different methods of cost estimation. Both tools were developed under the Windows environment and are running on PC.
METACOST Tool 1 supports the Functional Sub-Assembly Method. This tool permits to file and to search costs of parts, subassemblies or machines based on functional product parameters. Resource consumption (or cost) is estimated by analogy to similar parts and products.
METACOST Tool 2 supports the Activity Based Cost Estimation. The company model permits from the company accounting and budget data, to calculate for each order process and a given resource the rate of the consumed effort (hourly rate). Cost influencing product parameters and formulas to estimate the resource consumption are defined in the company model. Access to external libraries via DLL is possible. A methodology to structure the company product, the so called structogramm, allows to predefine the questions to be answered during the cost estimation process to reduce the time spend for cost estimation. Company model and structogramm have to be implemented once and allow a quick and easy cost estimation process after the implementation phase.
- European Network of distributed competencies in cost estimation,
where three Technical centres, one University and one Software House representing four European countries have brought background information and developed foreground information during the project. Today, they constitute a network of distributed knowledge on costing and cost estimation methods that are available for exchange among network Partners and for transfer towards industry. The network is completed by five industrial SME's who contributed to the results and will act as reference.
This methodology uses existing cost estimation methodologies as well as combinations of them but also new methodologies as well as combinations of them but also new methodologies derived from existing cost calculation methodologies. By this, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be able to answer quickly to tenders with precise and competitive cost estimations. The new methodology will be specialized for special machine and subcontracting manufacturers.
This means :
-Developing a methodology for configuring the estimation system according to the enterprise typologies
-being able to propose different cost estimation models depending on the structures of the enterprises
-developing cost estimation software integratable into the enterprise structures, especially into the engineering and the process planning department.