aPriori Updates Product Costing Software

aPriori refines its cost management software by focusing on user-driven improvements.

aPriori's vision of how product costing should work. (Image courtesy of aPriori.)

aPriori’s vision of how product costing should work. (Image courtesy of aPriori.)

aPriori, makers of product cost management software of the same name, has announced an update to its 2016 package.

According to the company, aPriori 2016 R1 has been driven, primarily, by customer demands. “We spend a lot of time working side-by-side with our customers, understanding how they interact with the system, learning the types of information that are most valuable to them and observing how they leverage that information in their interactions with other members of their product team, suppliers and even their own customers,” said Julie Driscoll, vice-president of strategic marketing with aPriori.

To meet those customer demands, aPriori has focused their new release on a number of critical areas, including enhancement of the overall user experience, functionality upgrades for design engineers and cost engineers and cost model enhancements for all members of a team.

With aPriori 2016 R1, design engineers will have access to a new high-level part summary view that will break down the cost of assembly manufacturing per each fabrication step for each and every component. With this improved view into product costs, engineers will be able to gauge whether labor, tooling or materials are the predominant driver of cost for a project. Adding additional value to this quick-view tool is R1’s ability to perform side-by-side cost comparisons of multiple parts, making it easy for engineers to see what designs perform best per unit price. Finally, if design engineers need to drill deep into a design’s product structure to see where component costs are being accrued, R1 has the ability to analyze individual features to determine where exactly costs are mounting.

For bean counters in an organization, aPriori 2016 R1 also features an “expert mode” of cost analysis that can give even greater insight into component cost. In aPriori’s “expert mode,” auditors can drill into the assumptions being made by the software at each step of the costing model, customizing variables to reflect real-world economics that might more accurately reflect a product’s cost structure. “Expert mode” has also been optimized to work with large assemblies, crunching numbers for machines made up of thousands of parts with ease.

Rounding out the R1 update, aPriori has also improved the software’s ability to estimate parts milled on a four-axis machine. With its milling upgrade, aPriori can use machining setups, part reorientations, finishing passes and other CAM operations to characterize the cost of a part. Once an initial costing estimate has been made, aPriori users can, for example, manipulate milling settings to determine if a change in the order of operations would reduce the cost of manufacturing a part.

Engineers know that profit margins are always going to be tight for a new or complex product. While some products are just too complex to be made on the cheap, solutions like aPriori are providing engineers with the tools to know if their ideas are financially sound. Though that’s not the complete story of product success, it does go a long way to proving if a product can be viable.

In other words, aPriori gives engineers, and their companies,unique predictive insight to prevent manufacturing surprises that could otherwise sink a well-designed product.