On a recent visit with my mom, I received the usual question: “What is it that you do exactly?” I typically use a chip replacement example with mobile phones to illustrate value engineering. My mom studied anthropology. She still struggles with the difference between emails and texts on her phone. Nevertheless, as I’ve been working in tech, I trudged on with the illustration.
For example: the phone we bought two years ago came with a chip—let’s say the chip cost $10 then. Today, because of technology innovations (Moore’s Law), that same chip may cost only $5. If you ship the same phone with the lower cost chip and sell it at the same price, you made money. Say they sell 10 million phones, they just saved $50 million. $50 million here, $50 million there, pretty soon you’re talking real money. Value engineering positively impacts profitability.
She said, “oh, I think I get it.” “It’s sort of like my George Foreman electric bar-b-que. I just replaced it and the new one has a plastic grease trap whereas the old one had a metal one.” Mom’s a quick study. One of the more successful value engineering projects I worked on in Silicon Valley was the replacement of a metal fan tray with a plastic one—it saved millions.
“Exactly”, I replied. “George’s engineers had to run the specs on the plastic trap” (can’t have it melt or catch fire). “The savings on the trap reduced the cost of goods sold—which positively impacts George’s gross margins. George only charges $79.99 for your bar-b-que, he needs to keep his margins as high as possible. George has 60 or so products, it’s likely there are value engineering efforts on most, if not all of them. Each dollar saved impacts George’s profitability.”
What we do is bundle individual value engineering projects into an investment portfolio. We use our proprietary software, Quanta AI, to maximize the investments. Quanta AI ensures the proper combination of value engineering investments aligns with margin management strategy. Value engineering ensures companies meet profitability targets and keep their investors happy.
She glossed over the AI part, but George’s bar-b-que helped illustrate value engineering and what we do. Her next question was inevitable: “So, when are you going to work with George?”