Cost Breakdown Analysis For Competitive Advantage

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The classic “cost breakdown” gets a bad rap these days.

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It seems like an old school concept, but we’d argue it’s getting a new lease on life as procurement organizations seek more strategic supply market intelligence insight.

Cost breakdown analysis

Cost breakdown analysis can create a competitive advantage for your business. Source: Adobe Stock/Morchella.

In fact, in recent weeks we’ve fielded an increasing amount of phone calls about obtaining metal price data for both should-cost and total-cost models. These organizations range from the small manufacturer seeking to renegotiate supply contracts with Chinese suppliers to large retailers seeking to develop supplier should-cost models for negotiation purposes.

Recently, Bertrand Maltaverne of software provider Pool4Tool and formerly of Schneider Electric, led a webinar discussing the concept of TVO (total value of ownership) and walked the audience through several distinctions between TVO and its cousin, TCO (total cost of ownership).

For more specifics on how to model TVO for your organization, join us at the ISM/Spend Matters Global Procurement Tech Summit where I will be co-leading a workshop on Cost Breakdown Analysis with Pool4Tool Founder and CEO Thomas Dieringer.

As someone who has led many workshops and discussions on TCO, the distinction between TVO and TCO should compel all buying organizations to take a second look at this potential source of competitive advantage. Consider the following:

  • TCO considers the “cost basics” such as direct material costs, direct labor costs, direct operating and process costs, manufacturing overheads, research and development, selling general and administrative expenses, etc. plus profits.
  • It also considers entire life-cycle costs from the purchasing market, research costs, insurance, staff training, switching costs as well as ongoing operating costs such as consumables, spares, etc. to end-of-life disposal costs such as site cleanup, decommissioning costs, etc.
  • TVO, on other hand, considers other factors not traditionally incorporated into “should cost” models. These factors might include value drivers such as productivity gains, risk reduction such as CSR risk, financial, logistics and quality; it is expressly tailored to the specific objectives of the buying organization.

Two other elements make TVO unique — the first involves internal collaboration across functions in defining value and the second involves integration of those functions and subsequent processes into the procurement evaluation process.

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These integrated processes become crucial in helping define category strategies, supplier evaluations and risk management practices. If this sounds theoretical, it is not. Consider how some organizations view sustainability, for example, as a key driver of shareholder value. And though we folks in procurement often focus on shareholder value in terms of COGS or reduced SG&A expense, TVO makes metal buying a whole lot more strategic.

Relative performance, not absolute performance, also drives value, according to Pool4Tool. Companies that develop index-based models reflecting real market prices (MetalMiner has long advocated them and, in the name of full disclosure, provides such data) and sophisticated cost models have a leg up over organizations that don’t use these tools.

Follow Lisa Reisman on Twitter @LReismanMM

Comment (1)

  1. Hi Lisa,

    thanks for taking part in our Webinar. Just quick a link to more information on POOL4TOOL’s Cost Breakdown capabilities for everybody who wants to learn more: http://www.pool4tool.com/cms/en/products/sourcing-portal/cost-breakdown-analysis/

    regards
    Wolfgang

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