Cut and Dry of Value Engineering: What, Why, and How

What is Value Engineering?

Per SAVE’s The Value of Methodology, value engineering is the “systematic method to improve the ‘value’ of goods or products and services by using an examination of function.” In more relatable terms, value engineering is the betterment of a product’s value or worth through close analysis, review, and assessment of how it’s used or how it works. Generally, this can be done by either enhancing the function or lowering the cost.

Value engineering refers not only to the improvement of products, but also design, construction, business, and administrative processes and projects.

How is maximum value generally achieved?

Successful value engineering is based around a close analysis of multiple factors. Primarily, one of the determining factors is the lifespan of the product, process, or project. Expected endurance and period of relevancy should be considered in conjunction with quality. By creating a product utilizing different grades of materials, based upon life expectancy knowledge, an engineer has the opportunity to save the manufacturer and the purchaser time, money, and labor.

The key to value engineering is balancing function, performance, safety, cost, and quality. Each of these aspects are incredibly important and will impact the overall value and success of a product, therefore they must all be analyzed, reviewed, and then placed on a hierarchy.

While there are many ways to reach this balance, many value engineers follow the below steps:

  • STEP 1 – Research and gather information about the product, process, or project.
  • STEP 2 – Become an expert on function through analysis. Learn and clarify the product’s specific functions.
  • STEP 3 – Brainstorm ways to meet the product’s functions.
  • STEP 4 – Begin development by ascertaining and synthesizing the most feasible value improvement ideas and concepts.
  • STEP 5 – Present your work to the stakeholders in order to get feedback.

The Considerations

Value engineering is a great tool for companies looking to produce a product that has an expected expiration date. By creating a product with components meant to last as long as the product is relevant, a higher level of efficiency can be procured. Laborers aren’t spending as much time focused on durability levels, finances are saved in the manufacturing process, and the overall price dollar of the product drops.

With that said, there have been debates regarding how dependable value engineering truly is. What happens when a product outlasts the expected lifespan? Do the components, as well as the overall construction of the product continue to last or degrade? Does the purchaser or consumer lose money while the manufacturer gains?

While these are important questions to consider, a dependable value engineer will have the skill-set to build a high-quality product even with lifespan considerations.

Belco Forest Products has a long history in multi-family and low-rise commercial projects. We have specialized in the manufacturing and professional coating of solid wood products since 1978. By focusing on quality, stability and longevity, we provide a range of value engineered options to meet both the specific design requirements and finishing budgets. Give us a call at 360.426.8900.