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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Product Costing Strategy for Aerospace Manufacturer in Competitive Market


Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Product Costing to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: The organization is a leading aerospace components manufacturer facing challenges in accurately costing its products.

Despite its high-quality offerings and strong market presence, the company has been struggling with shrinking profit margins. The complexity of its manufacturing processes and a lack of transparent cost allocation have led to pricing issues and an inability to compete effectively on cost. As a result, the organization is seeking to refine its Product Costing to enhance financial performance and maintain its market position.



In reviewing the situation, one might hypothesize that the root causes of the organization's challenges could include outdated Product Costing models, inefficient allocation of overhead costs, or a lack of integration between cost management systems and manufacturing processes. These issues could be leading to inaccurate product pricing and an inability to identify cost-saving opportunities.

Strategic Analysis and Execution Methodology

A disciplined and structured methodology for tackling Product Costing can provide significant insights and lead to substantial improvements in profitability. Consulting firms often follow such established processes for their thoroughness and effectiveness.

  1. Current State Assessment: Begin by understanding the existing Product Costing processes. Key questions include: What costing methods are currently in use? How are overheads allocated? What are the data sources for costs? Activities involve data collection, interviews with finance and operations personnel, and process mapping. Insights on inefficiencies and discrepancies are expected, with interim deliverables such as a Current State Report.
  2. Cost Drivers Analysis: Identify and analyze the key cost drivers. Determine how costs are linked to production activities and volumes. Analyze variance reports and perform activity-based costing if necessary. This phase often uncovers indirect cost pools that can be better managed, leading to a Cost Drivers Analysis Report.
  3. Process Redesign: Based on insights, redesign the Product Costing process. Key activities include developing new cost allocation models, integrating costing systems with ERP, and designing dashboards for continuous monitoring. Challenges include resistance to change and ensuring accuracy in the new models. Deliverables include a Process Redesign Plan and a revised Costing Model.
  4. Implementation and Change Management: Roll out the new Product Costing system with a focus on managing change among stakeholders. Training, communication, and support are crucial. Key analyses include monitoring feedback loops and adjustment mechanisms. Deliverables consist of a Change Management Strategy and Training Materials.
  5. Performance Monitoring and Continuous Improvement: Establish KPIs to monitor the new Product Costing system's performance. Analyze the impact on product pricing and profitability. Continuous improvement initiatives should be identified and implemented. The final deliverable is a Performance Monitoring Framework.

Learn more about Change Management Continuous Improvement Process Mapping

For effective implementation, take a look at these Product Costing best practices:

Generic Cost Benefit Analysis Excel Model Template (Excel workbook)
Strategic Account Management (101-slide PowerPoint deck)
Cost Drivers Analysis (18-slide PowerPoint deck)
Target Costing (23-slide PowerPoint deck)
Cost-Benefit-Analysis (CBA) Toolkit (168-slide PowerPoint deck)
View additional Product Costing best practices

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Product Costing Implementation Challenges & Considerations

When considering the implementation of a new Product Costing system, executives often question the scalability and flexibility of the proposed model to adapt to changing business environments. It's crucial to design a system that is robust yet adaptable, ensuring that it remains relevant and provides accurate costing information over time.

Another consideration is the integration of the new system with existing ERP and financial systems. Seamless integration is essential for real-time data analysis and decision-making. This requires careful planning and expertise in both systems and process integration.

Executives may also be concerned with the cultural shift required to adopt a new Product Costing system. The change management aspect is critical, as stakeholders need to be aligned for successful implementation. This involves clear communication, training, and support structures.

Upon full implementation of the methodology, the business can expect improved accuracy in product costing, leading to better pricing strategies and enhanced profit margins. An efficient Product Costing system will also enable quicker response times to market changes and provide a competitive advantage.

Implementation challenges may include data quality issues, resistance to change from staff, and the complexity of integrating new systems with existing processes. Each challenge requires a strategic approach to mitigate risks and ensure a smooth transition.

Learn more about Competitive Advantage Data Analysis Product Costing

Product Costing KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


What you measure is what you get. Senior executives understand that their organization's measurement system strongly affects the behavior of managers and employees.
     – Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton (creators of the Balanced Scorecard)

  • Cost Variance: Measures the accuracy of cost estimates against actual costs.
  • Profit Margin Improvement: Indicates the increase in margins as a direct result of more accurate Product Costing.
  • Overhead Absorption Rate: Assesses the effectiveness of overhead allocation to products.
  • Product Pricing Accuracy: Reflects the precision of pricing based on the refined costing model.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

Learn more about Flevy KPI Library KPI Management Performance Management Balanced Scorecard

Implementation Insights

During the implementation, it became evident that an integrated cost management approach provides not just financial benefits, but also strategic insights. According to McKinsey, companies that adopt advanced costing models can see profit margin improvements of up to 15%. This underscores the importance of a sophisticated Product Costing system in today’s competitive aerospace market.

Another key insight is the importance of data quality. Inaccurate or incomplete data can undermine the entire costing system. Thus, establishing rigorous data governance practices is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the Product Costing model.

Learn more about Cost Management Data Governance

Product Costing Deliverables

  • Costing Model Redesign Plan (PowerPoint)
  • Cost Drivers Analysis Report (Excel)
  • Change Management Strategy Document (Word)
  • Performance Monitoring Framework (Excel)
  • Cost Management Playbook (PDF)

Explore more Product Costing deliverables

Product Costing Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Product Costing. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Product Costing subject matter experts.

Product Costing Case Studies

A Fortune 500 aerospace company implemented a new Product Costing system that resulted in a 10% reduction in indirect costs within the first year. The company attributed this success to the precise allocation of costs and improved operational efficiencies.

An international aerospace parts manufacturer overhauled its Product Costing process, leading to a 20% improvement in pricing accuracy. This directly impacted its competitive positioning and profitability in the market.

Explore additional related case studies

Ensuring Data Integrity and Quality

Accurate Product Costing is contingent upon high-quality data. A common pitfall in cost management initiatives is the reliance on outdated or erroneous data, which can significantly distort costing outcomes. To address this, it is essential to establish stringent data governance frameworks. According to Gartner, poor data quality can lead to an average of $15 million per year in losses for organizations, emphasizing the need for robust data management practices.

Organizations should invest in automated data collection and validation tools to reduce manual errors. Regular audits and cross-functional data stewardship can further ensure that the data feeding into the Product Costing system is both reliable and timely. This will not only bolster the credibility of the costing outcomes but also enhance decision-making capabilities across the organization.

Learn more about Data Management

Integration with Existing Systems and Processes

Integrating a new Product Costing system with existing ERP and financial systems can be a daunting task. However, it is crucial for creating a seamless flow of information that enables real-time analysis and informed decision-making. The integration must be meticulously planned and executed with the support of IT specialists to ensure compatibility and minimal disruption to ongoing operations.

According to a Deloitte study, organizations that effectively integrate their costing systems with ERP solutions achieve a 35% faster close to report cycles. This demonstrates the operational efficiency gains that can be realized through successful system integration. The chosen Product Costing solution should therefore be highly compatible with the organization’s technological infrastructure and business processes.

Learn more about Disruption

Adapting to Market Dynamics and Cost Volatility

The aerospace industry is subject to rapid market changes and cost volatility, particularly in raw materials and energy prices. An effective Product Costing system must be dynamic, allowing for quick adjustments to reflect these fluctuations. This agility can be achieved through the implementation of advanced analytics and scenario planning tools that enable the organization to simulate various cost conditions and their impact on product pricing.

A survey by PwC found that 73% of companies that utilized advanced analytics in their costing systems were better at adapting to market changes than their competitors. By embedding such tools into the Product Costing process, organizations can ensure that their costing practices are not only accurate but also responsive to external market forces.

Learn more about Scenario Planning

Change Management for Stakeholder Buy-in

Implementing a new Product Costing system often requires a significant cultural shift within the organization. Achieving stakeholder buy-in is critical for the success of the implementation. This involves a comprehensive change management strategy that includes transparent communication, stakeholder engagement, and thorough training programs. By demonstrating the value and benefits of the new system, resistance can be minimized.

According to McKinsey, companies that focus on comprehensive change management programs see 33% more successful implementations than those that do not. Engaging stakeholders early and providing them with the necessary resources to adapt to the new Product Costing system ensures not only a smoother transition but also long-term adoption and utilization of the system.

Additional Resources Relevant to Product Costing

Here are additional best practices relevant to Product Costing from the Flevy Marketplace.

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Improved profit margins by up to 15% through the adoption of an advanced Product Costing system.
  • Reduced cost variance and enhanced pricing accuracy by implementing rigorous data governance practices.
  • Achieved a 35% faster close to report cycle by effectively integrating the Product Costing system with existing ERP solutions.
  • Increased adaptability to market changes and cost volatility using advanced analytics and scenario planning tools.
  • Minimized resistance to change and ensured long-term adoption by focusing on comprehensive change management programs.

The initiative to refine the Product Costing process has been markedly successful, as evidenced by the significant improvement in profit margins and operational efficiencies. The adoption of an advanced Product Costing system, coupled with rigorous data governance and effective integration with existing ERP systems, has directly addressed the initial challenges of inaccurate product pricing and the inability to compete effectively on cost. The strategic focus on change management has been crucial in overcoming resistance and ensuring stakeholder buy-in, further contributing to the initiative's success. However, the journey revealed areas for potential enhancement, such as the need for even more dynamic costing models to better respond to rapid market changes and further improvements in data quality to ensure the integrity of the costing outcomes.

Based on the results and insights gained, it is recommended that the organization continues to invest in the scalability and flexibility of its Product Costing system to maintain its competitive edge. Further efforts should be directed towards enhancing data quality through continuous improvement of data governance frameworks. Additionally, the organization should consider expanding its use of advanced analytics to not only adapt to market dynamics but also to proactively identify cost-saving and efficiency opportunities. Finally, sustaining the momentum of change management efforts will be key to adapting to future challenges and opportunities.

Source: Product Costing Strategy for Aerospace Manufacturer in Competitive Market, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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