635. Control of Aerospace Vehicle Costs by Applying the Proven Techniques of Weight Control


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R L Benson: 635. Control of Aerospace Vehicle Costs by Applying the Proven Techniques of Weight Control. 1967.



This paper offers some suggestions on how cost controls on aircraft and other aerospace programs might be made more effective. It does this by illustrating that in many respects there is a close relationship between cost and weight, and suggests that some of the techniques used very success- fully by Convair division of General Dynamics to control weight, might have application in cost control. There are, of course, more factors involved in the ‘cost of a program’ than in the ‘weight of a vehicle’. A large part of a production program cost, however, is determined either directly or indirectly by the engineering design of the vehicle, and it is in this area that a very close relationship exists between cost and weight. Briefly, the weight control techniques which are recomnded for adaption to cost control are:
1. Subdivide the vehicle into small packagesand set cost targets for each package.
2. Keep the cost breakdown in exact parallel with the weight breakdown.
3. Review each package for minimum cost in the same manner as they are reviewed for minimum weight. The first review should be made at the layout stage, then an accounting maintained on changes during design with a final review before release to production.
4. Make cost trade-off and sensitivity studies to be sure that minimum cost is attained consistent with other factors.
5. Maintain continuous reporting on status.
6. Search ahead for possible problems and forewarn management in time to permit corrective action. This is thought by the author to be one of the big weaknesses in present cost controls; costs are usually reported after the engineering design has been completed.
7. Develop a team of experts on cost control similar to present weight control engineers. This team probably already exists within most companies; however, some changes in organization might be desirable.
8. Build a bank of detailed historical cost information, recording it in a form which parallels historical weight information as closely as possible.


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