FAST and cheap
May 13, 2010 5:55 AM   Subscribe

Value engineering (also known as Value Analysis) is an approach to cost-effective product development that seems to have had its heyday in the developed world. However, as this recent student project "Value Engineering Project (Tata Nano)" seems to show, it is still popular in the developing world. Comparing this definition of Carlos Ghosn's now famous phrase "Frugal Engineering" with VE's seems to imply "new name; same approach" - understandable since Tata are the leading lights of the Indian Value Engineering society. Is it time for a global revival of interest?
posted by infini (9 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by atchafalaya at 7:07 AM on May 13, 2010

Reminds me strongly of the MDMP.
posted by atchafalaya at 7:10 AM on May 13, 2010

It kinda reminds me of every (truly) private sector engineering project I've ever heard of or worked on.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:17 AM on May 13, 2010

It's still popular in the developed world, too. It's a central part of the large construction projects I've worked on. The "oh shit, we're way over budget" process.
posted by pjaust at 7:36 AM on May 13, 2010

atchafalaya - going through the archives of the original papers seems to imply that this body of work may have influenced the development of many such programs, including this law

In the United States, value engineering is specifically spelled out in Public Law 104-106, which states “Each executive agency shall establish and maintain cost-effective value engineering procedures and processes.

discovering the url of the citation above makes me wonder in the context of the next thread whether perhaps the concepts were far too assiduously applied when evaluating "basic function (drill for oil) vs secondary function (prevent catastrophe)" ?
posted by infini at 7:40 AM on May 13, 2010

In the building field, a fairly typical conversation:

"I thought that there was supposed to be a door right here."

"It got V-E'd out of the project."

posted by Danf at 7:46 AM on May 13, 2010

It's a central part of the large construction projects I've worked on

Yeah, VE workshops are mandated in some municipalities, for projects with capital costs over a certain amount. It is often taken to mean "cutting out the aesthetics to get back on budget" though.
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:43 AM on May 13, 2010

that's kind of the problem I realized - that there didn't seem to be full blown programs the way there were twenty some years ago when I was looking for a master's concentration after my industrial engineering degree (with VA/VE as a year long elective). the best program was U of Wisc - madison and what i've linked to is all that's left of it...

VE is nuanced, a balanced tradeoff not slash and burn hacking...
posted by infini at 11:06 AM on May 13, 2010

"It got V-E'd out of the project."

I heard this recently from a contractor after an A/V install in a new building. I thought it was just a euphemism for "they're too cheap" and didn't realize it had such a rich history.
posted by camcgee at 1:47 PM on May 13, 2010

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