Multiple needs can arise:
You have to solve issues in your products’ quality or positioning.
The solution you offer doesn’t meet the customer needs. You are facing issues in identifying the actual customers’ needs or expectations.
You must develop solutions with new functions to answer an ever-evolving customer environment
Your manufacturing cost prices are too high on an aggressive competitive arena. You want to :
- get back to the original margin rate that has been continuously decreasing over the years,
- or decrease your market price while preserving your margin in order to gain market share.
You must develop significantly less expensive products. Your objective is to save at least 15% to 40% on the manufacturing cost price, and yet, you cannot achieve more than 5 to 10% potential savings with your teams.
The APTE method was created 50 years ago from Larry Miles value analysis works and was precisely designed to answer these needs.
With specific tools of value and functional analyses, APTE helps youto reduce the costs significantly and better identify the users’ expectations in terms of products and packagings
The objective is to optimise the products’ quality/cost criteria
A range of 25% to 40% savings can be expected on manufactured products (with mecanic assembly, electrical).
On products for which the raw material and compulsory process parts are significant, (such as food industry products for instance), the potential savings range from 5% to 10%.
The implementation is eased by the fact that most of the savings solutions are actually improving the provided services.
The APTE® method in practice: products and packagings optimisation
The approach is based on the coordination of a multidisciplinary group. It includes different steps:
- The writing of functional specifications for the product or packaging is key to :
- Focus on the actual unmet needs for the whole set of users (not only final user).
- « Forget » the existing solution as it is the condition under which the teams could re-design an optimal solution without any preconceived idea.
- Identify the bare minimum needs of the users (neither under-quality, nor over-quality).
- The qualitative and economic diagnoses of the current solution: the project team compares the product to the functional specifications.
The qualitative diagnosis highlights:
Use contexts not taken into account in the current product.
Unmet or partially met functions (that represent a progress margin with a clear potential either to increase the market price or to take market share).
The possible over-quality of the solution vs. the actual needs and expectations of the customers.
Existing functions in the product that do not provide the expected service by the customer (possibility to take them out).
The economic diagnosis measures the gap between the so called « bare-minimum » costs to fulfill each function and the costs actually spent for the current solution.
These diagnoses will lead to the realisation of a progress plan which is the very basis for the search of optimised solution.
- Finding out the optimal solution
Once the causes of the quality and costs gaps are identified, a new solution can be designed. Creativity sessions will support the search for optimised alternative solutions.
The goal is to identify alternative solutions that are fully meeting the specifications, with the help of the technologic principles tree (APTE methodological tool). Among the different solutions that have emerged, the group selects the bare minimum solution, being the solution that answers all the functions at the lowest cost.