From an economic standpoint, aircraft are planned at a very early stage: The sales price and operating costs are nailed down on paper even before the first design studies are done. Clearly, this type of manufacturing would be perfectly suited for Design-to-Cost or Design-to-Manufacturing methods, if they were used effectively.
An aircraft consists of a wide range of components — with between 10,000 and 1,000,000 individual parts depending on the aircraft type. And each of these components has their own individual cost structure — with various material qualities, availabilities, production methods, suppliers and required unit volumes.
In the past, many attempts have been made to assist engineers and technicians with the preparation of expense estimates or cost calculations. Examples include the use of: internal purchasing departments, preproduction planning, costanalyzerteams, or extensive databases and IT tools. “But these things always take too long,“ says the Ingenics expert Alexandre Zisa. ”An engineer needs to know the cost of a particular part within a timeframe of between 5 minutes to 2 hours. Anything that takes longer than that is simply ineffective.” That’s also why he believes a new perspective or paradigm shift is needed: Engineers and technicians should prepare their own cost estimates and calculations.