“The process is broken and we need to start over with a clean sheet.”
This statement is a common theme and recurring challenge presented to cost estimating and analysis teams and organizations. This was the starting point of one recent undertaking at Technomics.
Every new administration or several years we see efforts to reform the acquisition system and its associated processes. The Army has taken the big step to establish what they’re calling a new Futures Command with the goal of streamlining the acquisition process. To achieve this they are connecting the warfighters – those who use the products of this system – with those who develop the equipment in hopes of increasing both the efficiency and quality of the process. But is that enough to assure success?
Better Equipment. Faster.
Changing organizational structures is one thing—but new tools and techniques will be the enablers to situate them on the path to success. The Army Corps of Engineers, under an effort dubbed Engineered Resilient Systems (ERS), was attempting to move engineering and analysis to the left of the Department of Defense (DoD) Milestone A decision point. This refers to the point in time where a DoD agency has recognized a requirement gap, has confirmed that a new piece of equipment is necessary to fill it, and are analyzing the details of what this new acquisition should look like.
They were creating a Cloud Computing Environment (CCE) with various tools and analytics to evaluate alternative system designs. Cost was the significant missing piece of this early acquisition puzzle.
Better Decisions. Faster.
Technomics was given the challenge of developing a life cycle cost modeling capability to enhance the ERS CCE. First, we worked with the Army’s ground vehicle research and development team to understand how it created early vehicle designs based on specific warfighter needs for improved capability.
We then leveraged our knowledge and understanding of cost, technical and programmatic data for ground vehicle programs to develop cost estimating equations driven by early vehicle design outputs such as weight, horsepower, transmission torque, etc. These equations provided the vehicle designers with a heretofore missing but essential ingredient of credible early tradeoff analysis – life cycle cost estimates! Now the engineers could trade performance and cost at a point in the process (i.e., early) when it truly mattered.
This Technomics work is a great example of developing an innovative yet practical cost research product that enables better decisions faster and accelerates delivery of the right capability to our warfighters.