Product Support Business Case Analysis [BCA]: Fast, Accurate, Proven Results Employing The Hypatia© Scenario-Based Product Support Life Cycle Financial Planning Software Tool

Oct 01
2012

Product Support Business Case Analysis for MRAP

A Product Support Business Case Analysis [BCA] study is employed by the Program Manager [PM] Office of a Program Executive Office [PEO] of a Life Cycle Management Command [LCMC] in their Milestone Weapon System Acquisition review. The Product Support BCA study applies a disciplined methodology for recommending the best solutions for efficiently and effectively managing the processes employed by a Product Support Enterprise [PSE] during the in-service life and End-Of-Life [EOL] of a weapon system. The Product Support BCA output is a major input to the Life Cycle Sustainment Plan [LCSP] that is delivered by the Product Support Manager/Integrated Logistics Support Manager of the Program Office. Giuntini & Company, Inc. [GCI] has successfully performed five Product Support BCAs for the CECOM LCMC and the TACOM LCMC.

As a result of the experience above, GCI has developed a listing below of the varied elements required as inputs to the BCA.

Item #

BCA elements

1

# of end-items to be fielded

2

# of end-users

3

Deployability status of end-users

4

Global location of end-users

5

Product Support processes employed during life cycle

6

Product Support process frequency

7

Product Support process duration

8

Business model of each Product Support solution delivered by the PSE

9

Volatility of product technology/DMSMS issues

10

Regulatory requirements

11

Aging of the fielded end-items

12

Life of the product in DoD inventory

13

Manufacturer’s warranty coverage

14

Item design source/IP ownership/TDP

15

Materiel Availability [Am] requirements of end-user

16

“Jointness” of solution with multiple end-users

17

Business model elements for each Product Support solution

18

BOM levels employed

19

BOM variations

20

BOM level capabilities

21

End-item on-site maintenance strategy

22

End-item off-site maintenance strategy

23

BOM item costs

24

LRU renewal cost

25

Current/constant $$

26

Continuous Process Improvement [CPI] initiatives

27

Level of BOM in which Government owns IP

28

Employment of PSM/PSI PSE construct

29

Employment of ARFORGEN reset/reconstitute Product Support process

30

Funding sources included in analysis

31

Reparable parts Beyond Economic Repair [BER]/washout rate

32

Others

Product Support Business Case Analysis using Hypatia Tool

With over 35 years of data collection and development, GCI has created a software tool that encompasses all the above elements to create the outputs of a BCA study; it is called “Hypatia: A Scenario-Based, Product Support Life Cycle Financial Planning Software Tool.” Hypatia has enabled GCI to reduce the time to complete a Product Support BCA by 30%, and in turn has been able to reduce the cost of the study by the same amount. Another benefit of Hypatia has been its ability to deliver target life cycle Product Support costs that have been considered reasonably accurate by the recipients of the study. Traditional Product Support cost estimating tools such as COMPASS  are often inadequate to be employed in a BCA.

If you are interested in discussing how our proven Hypatia tool can be employed in your Product Support BCA study initiative, both for new programs and legacy programs, call a Giuntini & Co. SME at 570-713-4795 or visit us at www.giuntinicompany.com.

Product Support Financial Value Drivers. 2/10 – End User Product Utilization Rate.

Sep 24
2012

This post is the second of ten entries that will discuss product support financial drivers for solutions supplied by a commercial or military focused capital good Product Support Enterprise [PSE]. The 10 topics that will be discussed are the following:

  1. # of products employed by end-users
  2. End-user product utilization rate
  3. Product failure
  4. Environment in which end users engage the product
  5. Preventive maintenance processes employed
  6. Volatility of product technology
  7. Regulatory requirements
  8. Chronological age of the product installed base
  9. Life cycle stage of the product
  10. Manufacturer’s warranty coverage

The utilization rate of a product materially drives the financial impact of Product Support upon Total Ownership Cost [TOC]; an aircraft end-user that flies 500 hours/year will spend less on Product Support solutions than that of an aircraft end-user that flies 3,000 hours/year. The Product Support processes most impacted are correct/prevent unplanned failures and conformance to safety/regulatory requirements.

There are three primary ways in which a product’s utilization can be measured:

Period of use (i.e. 3 hours), frequency of use (i.e. 8 trips, 20 cycles), and output from use (i.e. 500 miles travelled, 1,000 pieces produced).

End user utilization rate for aircraft. Product support financial value drivers.

Choosing the appropriate utilization measurement can significantly impact the understanding of this key Product Support financial value driver. For example, if mileage is the only utilization measurement for a truck, and if the truck spends many hours idling, Product Support estimated costs based upon only mileage utilization may result in inaccurate forecasts; utilization measurement may sometimes require a blend of several factors.

The following four deployability types that can be employed to segment the planned utilization of a product, as well as be compared to a baseline utilization level:

  1. Preparing for deployment (i.e. garrison training); 1.00=baseline
  2. Non-deployable (i.e. schoolhouse training); ~1.25 of baseline
  3. Deployed (i.e. combat, humanitarian); ~2.00 of baseline
  4. Stored for future deployment (i.e. advanced deployed); ~.05 of baseline

Recently I delivered a weapons system Product Support Business Case Analysis [BCA] to a TACOM lifecycle management command program office in which the products were to be employed in all of the four above deployability types. The product studied was to be fielded over a 6 year period, but the distribution of the product’s deployability types had yet to be decided, but regardless, I had to estimate the impact of Product Support upon TOC in order to deliver my Business Case Analysis.

EOD team and product support

Given several known and unknown factors, I applied the following distribution of the products to be fielded for each period that a product was in-service: 70% preparing for deployment, 10% non-deployable, 15% deployed and 5% stored for future deployment. Using the variance factors from the baseline, the utilization of all the fielded products from the baseline was calculated as 1.15= [(70%*1.00) + (10%*1.25) + (15%*2.00) + (5%*.05)]. This weighted cost factor was applied to all processes that were driven by product utilization. For example, if the utilization baseline was 1,000 hours year, then a 1.15 weight factor would drive the annual utilization rate for each fielded product to be 1,150 hours.

Knowing that the Mean Time Between Failure [MTBF] was 2,000 hours and the weighted utilization was 1,150 hours/year and that the average cost of a repair was $2,000, I could estimate that the annual Product Support cost for the correct-failure Product Support process per fielded product was $2,875= [(1,150hrs/2,000hrs)*$5,000]. This was a simplified calculation, but it provides an overview of how utilization impacts Product Support costs.

Hypatia©, a Giuntini & Company financial software tool, provides a highly automated means of calculating the above and other product support financial value drivers, as well as an effortless way of being able to change any utilization assumption and immediately understand its impact upon total ownership costs.

 

Product Support Financial Value Drivers. 1/10 – Number of Products Employed by End-Users.

Sep 23
2012

This post is the first of ten entries that will discuss product support financial drivers for solutions supplied by a commercial or military focused capital good Product Support Enterprise [PSE]. The 10 topics that will be discussed are the following:

  1. # of products employed by end-users
  2. End-user product utilization rate
  3. Product failure
  4. Environment in which end users engage the product
  5. Preventive maintenance processes employed
  6. Volatility of product technology
  7. Regulatory requirements
  8. Chronological age of the product installed base
  9. Life cycle stage of the product
  10. Manufacturer’s warranty coverage

The first financial value driver – the number of products that are in the hands of the end-user – is THE biggest driver of all. Put simply, the more products delivered to end-users, the more Product Support required. It is always surprising to me that OEMs often do not know the quantity of their products that are in the hands of end-users. Almost all OEMs are focused upon production, but few are focused upon Product Support solutions.

number of products employed is the most important part of a product support enterprise

Working recently with one construction equipment OEM, I sat down with their leadership to discuss areas of revenue/profit opportunities in Product Support. Leadership was gloating that Product Support revenue had been increasing at 15%/year for the last 4 years. I asked them how much was their installed base changing for their products, but they couldn’t answer my question. So, I asked them to give me their warranty files and I did a quick and dirty analysis and I found that their installed base was growing at a 25%/year rate. When I plotted the results and told them that they had foregone 40% of the potential Product Support revenue, they were crushed…but I got them to be angry at themselves for not seeing all the money that were leaving on the table, and the OEM became much more proactive in assuring that they got “their fair share” of revenues generated from solutions delivered by a PSE.

To give some OEMs slack, they often employ authorized distributors to sell their products directly or indirectly to end-user; the OEMs don’t know when their products are actually sold and to whom.

Lesson learned: OEMs must know the current and future size of their installed base in order to develop a Product Support life cycle financial plan…and as a result of not knowing the size of their installed product based, especially for out-of-production product lines, the typical OEM captures only an estimated 15% of the value of all the solutions supplied by a PSE.

The next product support financial value driver entry coming in a few days.

Learn how to maximize your profits using Hypatia financial cost analysis forecasting software from Giuntini & Co. 

Pricing Product Support Parts for Clueless OEMs

Sep 14
2012

Pricing Product Support parts continues to be an area in which many OEMs struggle.

A 2011 Defense Department’s Inspector General  report accused Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. a unit of Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. (UTX) of overcharging the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command’s Corpus Christi, Texas Depot  for 28 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter Product Support parts, including $2,393.41 for a plastic wiring box cover worth $181.70.

Most OEMs continue to employ the following, dated method to pricing Product Support parts:

1. This is my cost.

2. This is the profit I have to make.

3. Therefore, this is the price I charge the customer.

Overly simplistic, and frankly, quite archaic.

Archaic Pricing Product Support models…

Earlier in my career, I ran an OEM’s (Falcon Jet) Product Support parts business unit for 10 years and my predecessor employed the cost-plus approach above. Customers were always screaming about $10 bolts, which met demanding aerospace specifications and were produced in small lots, but which a mechanic would perceive should only cost $1…because that is what you would pay at Sears.

Here is the funny part - a proprietary flight control actuator priced at $13,451 would have no pushback on price; the mechanic had no reference point to compare prices.

One day I decided to be very “clever” about pricing. I identified about 2,000 parts that “appeared” overpriced by our customers. Regardless of their cost, I brought them all down to $1. I then calculated my “loss” and increased the price of my proprietary items by the “loss” incurred, keeping my bottom line the same. Our customers were very happy that their concerns were acted upon…and there was no reaction to the higher prices on the proprietary parts.

Lesson learned: When an OEM stays with an illogical and rote Product Support parts pricing policy of cost-plus, their customers will be vocal about their disatisfaction. However, if you are clever, you can make your customers happy and still make the same profit. Voila!

Learn more about dynamic Product Support parts pricing models at www.giuntinicompany.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capital Goods OEM Warranty Costs Have Fallen By 20% Over The Last 8 Years

Sep 11
2012

 

Capital Goods OEM Warranty Costs Have Fallen By 20% Over The Last 8 Years

 

Overall annual warranty costs, as a % of sales revenue has been steadily declining. In 2003 warranty costs comprised about 1.8% of revenues for OEMs and last year it dropped to 1.4% or a 20% decline. This trend is positively impacting the end-users Total Ownership Cost [TOC] as products become more reliable and require less failure-driven maintenance.

Visit www.giuntinicompany.com for product support best practices.

DoD Has No Idea How Much It Has Invested In Product Support Parts

Sep 09
2012

The DoD’s auditor has reported material financial management weaknesses in the following areas:  Financial Management Systems, for Inventory, Equipment, Government-Furnished parts and Contractor-Acquired parts. In other words, the DoD doesn’t really know what and how much it has in its possession.

In 2005, the DoD issued its Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR) Plan  to define the Department’s strategy and methodology for improving financial management operations and controls, and reporting its progress to Congress…and Congress still awaits auditors to sign-off that the DoD is currently compliant.

Not the most effective strategy, eh?

A few years back we performed an extensive analysis of the inventory investment for an ACAT I Army weapon system that had been continually fielded over a 15 year period. We were told repeatedly by Army leadership that Class IX parts were balanced with demand…were they ever wrong!! Upon the conclusion of our study, 90% of the parts supply was classified as obsolete or excess…and I can tell you this poor Supply Chain Management of Product Support parts is common across all Services today. DoD has an estimated $90B of Class IX parts in inventory and my guess is that 30% is obsolete or excess…

Product Support Gone Bad

Sep 06
2012

Giuntini & Co. will be starting an ongoing series of posts about some of the big ‘uh ohs’ in the product support world. Take these as lessons folks – proper product support can be the difference between disaster and success…

Can you imagine if 15% of your fleet has been down for over 2 years because of the lack of Product Support parts. Take a look at what has happened with a bus fleet in India.

Spare Parts Product Support Gone Bad - Broken Down Bus

Spares rage can make the acquisition process for Product Support parts a stressful event. Take a look when someone gets really, really upset when they believe that someone has ripped them off.

Visit www.giuntinicompany.com for product support best practices.

Fake COTS Products

Aug 16
2010

An area that has experienced greater scrutiny since the advent of global terrorism has been the infiltration of fake and stolen COTS products into the supply chain. This initiative by terrorists has had three primary drivers:

  1. An “easy” way to generate large profits from an illicit enterprise in order to fund terrorist activities against US Warfighters and others
  2. The deployment of sub-quality products into the supply plain in order to cause business disruptions and economic harm to US firms
  3. The erosion of the value of brands and in turn the value of Intellectual Property (IP) rights; this can undermine the foundation of Western capitalism…but that is for another blog

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that 5-10% of world trade employs fake or stolen products. This is a serious problem that provides almost a limitless source of funds to terrorists, besides that of illegal drugs.

The Government and/or its contractors pay the following price for the need to secure the COTS product supply chain:

  • Higher insurance costs to mitigate the risks of “being stuck” with fake products or experience the thief of their product
  • Higher costs for the security of goods while in storage
  • Liabilities for branded products that fail and cause harm
  • Higher warranty expenditures for fakes
  • Overhead costs for providing surveillance of employee: espionage, bribery and theft
  • Authentication efforts to be able to validate the source of goods
  • Legal expenses to pursue wrongdoers

As COTS products continue to increase their presence in weapon systems, the above issues will have to be addressed by the Government and its contractors.

Changes Are A Comin’ to DoD Contractor Product Support

Aug 10
2010

The U.S. Department of Defense is the biggest purchaser of Product Support expenditures in the world; it annually buys an estimated $50 billion dollars worth of such goods and services.

The last ten years has proven to be an especially favorable period for military contractors; overall DoD spending has increased from $300 billion per year to $700 billion, or 130%, and America now employs nearly half of all global military resources.  It is estimated that Contractor Product Support expenditures rose at a 150% to 200% rate during the ten year period.

As a result of the large build-up in DoD expenditures, the US currently generates 50% of the global military expenditures, but the US economy only generates 25% of the global economic output…this imbalance will most likely be realigned back to a historical ratio of 1:1 between the US economic output and defense spending.  

When many contractors have only one customer that matters financially, options are limited as to generating additional sources of revenues to compensate for lost Product Support revenues.

Even the biggest military contractors claim less than five percent of the Pentagon’s budget, so a contractor’s fortunes is influenced more by how defense dollars are spent than by the size of the budget. For example, contractor revenues can decrease, even when military spending remains high, if money migrates out of weapon system acquisition and into uniformed and civilian manpower.

Below are some of the primary trends driving down Contractor Product Support expenditures:

  1. Reduction in overall weapon system OPTEMPO due to the scaling back the size of the US military deployment in SW Asia. With an estimated 25% of all weapon systems in theatre and their OPTEMPO an estimated 100% higher than those systems not in theatre, it is estimated that overall Product Support expenditures will decrease by 15%-20%, with contractors experiencing an estimated 20%-30% drop in Product Support revenues
  2. The current fiscal challenges of the Federal Government to finance all their budgeted programs will most likely result in the military being a “victim” of fiscal austerity. It is quite feasible that 15-20% of DoD weapon system inventories will be stored long-term in order to reduce Product Support expenditures. Given the US Congress and the power of the depot-lobby, many of the systems stored will be those currently primarily supported by contractors
  3. The emphasis that Secretary Gates has put on “rebalancing” the defense strategy. Rebalancing means putting less emphasis on conventional, industrial-age warfare, and more emphasis on non-traditional skills like counter-insurgency warfare; this strategy will reduce complex weapon systems that require a complex Product Support Enterprise. There will be more an emphasis upon COTS items being integrated into a solution for the warfighter. COTS Product Support expenditures are often materially less than that of Developmental Items, thus resulting in overall lower Product Support expenditures
  4. The move to “in-source” Product Support management jobs previously contracted out to industry by the Program Offices and Life Cycle Management Commands. The Government is actively recruiting “seasoned” professional from contractors; either the professionals join the Government or they lose their job.

Each of the major weapon system contractors will be encountering different Product Support issues:

  • Northrop Grumman (NG) has decided to remain primarily focused upon new weapon system deliveries. It recently sold its services unit, TASC, due to conflicts between its OEM business and its Product Support business. This was a major policy change for NG
  • General Dynamics (GD) has generated material Product Support revenues from Interim Contractor Support (ICS) programs for the communication communities, especially for weapon systems in theatre; a GD Contractor Field Service Representative (CFSR) in theatre generates almost $500,000 per year of revenue. Supplemental funds have been an engine of growth for GD Product Support programs; this will be going away sooner, rather than later
  • Raytheon is less exposed than other primary OEMs due to the nature of their products being electronics; Product Support expenditures, at least at the organizational maintenance level, is much smaller than that of weapon systems that have more mechanical parts
  • Lockheed Martin (LM) will encounter many challenges in the Product Support area. The company needs to generate $130 million in new sales every day just to stay where it is, and that won’t be easy in a down market for Product Support.

There will be many challenges in the area of DoD Product Support over the next few years. Adding value to DoD, rather than filling positions to perform routine Product Support tasks, will differentiate winners from losers. And let us not forget that Outcome Based Product Support programs will be the rule rather than the exception for all future Product Support contractor offerings; that will be the only way that DoD will be able to manage Product Support processes more effectively for less costs.

For a more detailed discussion on the above topic, review the recent conference discussions at the Lexington Institute.

Don’t Always Trust Product Support Enterprise Financial Data

Jul 23
2010

Recently General Motors (GM) reported their 2009 new-condition light vehicle sales warranty expenditures. In calculating the warranty expense per vehicle sold, the results were $357. Utilizing this per vehicle cost in calculating the average price per vehicle sold to the dealer network, this would indicate that GM sold each of their vehicles at an average price of $14,300…appears to be a very low number relative to all its major competitors…and common sense.

With US sales about 35% of GM’s overall unit sales and the average US vehicle sold to dealers at around $23,000, GM is implicitly indicating that the average price of the remaining light vehicles sold in the EU and Asia would be about $9,000 each…not likely. The warranty expenditures have a material impact on overall earnings for GM, thus this “cost conflict” is important.

It may be that GM, currently controlled by the Federal Government is applying “creative” financial accounting, similar to that of the Federal Government has been employing for decades…but that is another story.

Lesson Learned: When performing financial analysis of a Product Support Enterprise (PSE), warranty is an OEM’s cost incurred by the PSE, always validate the results by employing a secondary calculation for at least a selected group of costs that are material….a bit more work, but important in delivering accurate results.

info@giuntinicompany.com

Tel: 570-713-4795