aPriori, a leading provider of enterprise product cost management software solutions, today announced the general availability of the newest release of its award-winning technology. aPriori 2012r2 delivers expanded capabilities that further enable the platform to be deployed across global manufacturing organisations, continuing the company's mission to drive product cost awareness upstream into the earliest stages of new product development. aPriori 2012r2 also enables customers to more effectively leverage data hosted in other critical enterprise applications such as ERP and PLM systems, and communicate product cost information between all functional organisations involved in product definition and delivery.
aPriori's Product Cost Management software platform was designed to help companies attack cost at the point of origin by equipping design, engineering, sourcing and manufacturing professionals with the knowledge and technology infrastructure to quickly and precisely determine the cost of a part or complete product. A core competency of aPriori is that it leverages computer-aided design and intelligent cost models to quickly generate a detailed manufacturing analysis and cost estimates and quantify the impact of changes to product design, materials, manufacturing processes, volumes and location.
Specific new capabilities being introduced with aPriori 2012r2 that help manufacturers protect product profitability include:
- Import of complex engineering Bills of Materials (BOMs) from ERP, PLM or other enterprise applications. BOMs can be organised by unique functional groups and end users can leverage the core aPriori cost engine to calculate costs for new components and subassembly designs and compare with target cost. The updated product cost can then be shared across the enterprise so that all functional organisations operate from the same product cost playbook. A video demonstration of this new functionality is available here.
- aPriori Virtual Production Environments (VPEs) can now be configured to inherit material and machine data and cost model logic from other VPEs (aPriori's digital representation of a real-world manufacturing factory). This allows customer to more easily expand cost scenarios, study the impact of new tradeoff decisions and streamline system maintenance.
- Simplified creation and refinement of cost estimates by consolidating inputs into a single menu panel. This helps design engineers and other cost novices more efficiently produce cost estimates when evaluating early stage design and sourcing alternatives.
- Expanded capabilities to override preliminary data inputs. Cost engineers and sourcing specialists can more easily refine cost estimates for developing internal factory time standards or better supplier negotiations.
- Authenticate users from different functional groups and geographic locations via LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) making it easier to manage and control expanded usage of the aPriori platform.
- Updated Regional VPEs now accommodate European material naming conventions and machine preferences driven by increasing demand for product cost management in Europe.
- An Enhanced Progressive Die model improves automated calculations for machine selection, material utilisation, die station estimation, and tooling estimation.
- Expanding on the major upgrade to machining cost calculation introduced in November 2011, aPriori 2012r2 provides additional improvements for costing precision machining with increased sensitivity to geometric tolerances. As a result, low volume complex product manufacturers can leverage aPriori's automated machining capabilities to accelerate the creation of cost estimates for milled and turned parts. A video demonstration of this new functionality is available here.
Product Cost Rollups
Most product manufacturers today, especially those dealing with complex machinery, have strategic platform strategies that involve sharing a set of common design, engineering, and production efforts, as well as major components, over a number of distinct models. This necessitates the ability to compare estimated costs for product design alternatives at the functional group (e.g., powertrain) and product levels (e.g., complete assembled vehicle). In addition to the BOM loader mentioned above, aPriori 2012r2 provides a number of new capabilities in this area that enable users to:
- Begin an NPI project by loading an initial BOM, including pre-existing component attributes (e.g., cost target, supplier, etc.) and costs, which can be used to support project execution, cost analysis and tracking.
- Import Functional Group hierarchies that create logical rollup structures within the BOM that can be used for comparison and analysis between BOMs
- Track project changes month-to-month or compare new vs. existing BOMs.
- Easily share cost knowledge between PLM and ERP systems enabling a more complete, accurate and real-time view of product cost across the organisation.
"aPriori has historically done an exceptional job at calculating the cycle time and cost of complex manufacturing operations for components and small product assemblies, represented in a 3D CAD model or assembly design," commented Julie Driscoll, aPriori's vice president of strategic product management and marketing. "This new product release elevates our technology platform to a new level, enabling our customers to better integrate and leverage information from other enterprise applications to support cost tracking in NPI projects, evaluate product design alternatives at the functional group or complete product level, and understand the cost implications of different tradeoff decisions. We believe product cost tracking is a critical component to a manufacturer's cost management strategy. aPriori is committed to providing a flexible costing platform that can support the tracking process or output cost information to other systems if a tracking process is already in place."