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Harness cost calculation: Miseries brought on by false estimates.

I’ll get to the business of estimating the cost of engineering changes to wiring harnesses in a minute or two.  You don’t want to overpay or undercharge. You want your estimates to be true and accurate. First a historical digression to identify where the phrase quoted after the colon in the title comes from.

It is from the writings of Benjamin Franklin.  An unabashed interest in self-improvement such as found in his prose seems a little strange to someone originating from the UK now living in the USA. In the bookshops in England the “How to make your life better…..” volumes are discreetly tucked away, way towards the back of the store. The bookseller ringing up your purchase will eschew eye contact, so as not to further add to the burning blushes of embarrassment in your cheeks.  Perhaps it is something to do with the history of Britain’s social stratification. An attitude of “no point in doing fancy book-learning, gettin’ ideas above your station else the squire will put ‘en to work flummoxing the turnip tops” –  it seems that’s what keeps us British comfy in ourselves.

Contrast the country which now tolerates my residence where the societal self-reliance traditions go all the way to the group called the Founding Fathers. Prominent amongst these Mr. B. Franklin who lived, like myself in both England and the USA, and like me visited France, but unlike me has his portrait on the legal currency.

Benjamin Franklin said: “I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things.”  He was describing how he overpaid for a whistle when a child. His siblings told him that he”….. had given four times as much for it as it was worth; put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the reflection gave me more chagrin ….”

Pop one of these ISBN’s (0938399101, 9780938399100) into a search engine if you want to follow his story to a thrifty happy end by buying the book. I have this little story in mind when working with Capital Costing. 

Now you don’t want to overpay for your wiring and cable assemblies do you? Neither, if you make for clients do you want to undercharge for them. Somebody, somewhere will lose some money. No profit, plus having a broken relationship between customer and supplier is a decent definition of misery in this industry.

I think a growth towards mutually agreed, fully open appreciation of the trade between OEM and supplier is needed  – via a model of the costing basis. Fair recompense and automation.  Last blog entry focused on the upcoming IESF conference in Detroit March 18th 2010 – the registration link is still At the 2008 conference I delivered a paper about estimation best practices and specifically describing the Mentor Graphics Capital Costing tool available to Harness makers, wiring engineers and OEM’s handing off designs to suppliers in this specialized field.  In other sessions that day the CHS Architect product was introduced, which offers estimation from initial design studies. Capital Costing focuses later in the design cycle on engineered Bill of Materials – provides a very detailed manufacturing cost calculation. You get functionality both ends of the process. The antidote for folly, vexation and chagrin.  

Capital Costing has been around for a number of years and has yielded significant business benefit at customers. 


I can feel a plug is going to be added soon

 Airport lounges are fine places to ignore what is going on around you. Whilst waiting for a plane to bring me back to Detroit at the end of a working week in November I wrote an article now freshly published. The subject is the right way to go for organizations looking to automate electrical interconnect assembly costing. 

You can find the article here  go there if you want free advice about automating your cost estimation function.  That’s what I intended the article to be – free advice. But don’t be shy to go and look if your interest is more general. InterconnectionWorld™ is generally a good place to look at what’s going on in the sector.

As one Electrical Engineer said to another pointing to a blanked connector cavity without a wire in – “that’s a plug” and it was.


Plugs can be automatically added in CHS

 This was a plug for my article about automating cost estimation.

Harness, Electrical Distribution Systems, IESF, Capital Architect, Capital H, Automotive Electrical and Electronic Systems Design, Wire Harness, Cost Estimation, Electrical Design Systems, CHS, CHS Captial Costing

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About Paul Johnston

Paul JohnstonI help Mentor Graphics customers to be successful, accomplish a more rapid return on investment. My professonal focus is on the Capital product line. Customers need a good technical and commercial understanding when making software system purchasing and adopting decisions and in addressing issues through to best resolution. I am one of the team of experts Mentor employs to support the Capital worldwide. I was born just outside of Manchester England, am now resident in the metro Detroit area of Michigan USA. I have worked for Mentor Graphics for more than 15 years. Visit Paul Johnston's Blog

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