We express our sincere gratitude to Mr. H.K. Porwal whose mere presence provided immense support and without whose cooperation the present work would not have been possible. He laid down such a strong base of cost accounting that helped us in the completion of this project. He always kept us on our toes and was a source of inspiration all through. We are thankful to him for his continued guidance and invaluable encouragement in the making of this project.

Thank you.


TABLE OF CONTENTS.....................................................................................................3 OBJECTIVES......................................................................................................................4 To understand the meaning and importance of target costing.............................................4 To understand how target costing can be applied in an organization..................................4 To know how to manage the target costs.............................................................................4 INTRODUCTION...............................................................................................................5 TARGET COSTING CHARACTERISTICS......................................................................8 TARGET COSTING PROCESS.......................................................................................13 ACHIEVING TARGET COSTS........................................................................................16 TARGET COST MANAGEMENT...................................................................................25 TARGET COSTING TO IMPROVE BOTTOM-LINE....................................................30 FACTORS INFLUENCING TARGET COSTING...........................................................34 EVALUATION OF TARGET COSTING..........................................................................36 CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................42 BIBLIOGRAPHY..............................................................................................................43


 To understand the meaning and importance of target costing  To understand how target costing can be applied in an organization  To know how to manage the target costs  To know the factors which influence target cost and its merits and drawbacks.


Target Costing is a simple, straightforward process that can have significant impact on the health and profitability of many, if not most, businesses. It doesn't require an army of specialists, large-scale software implementations, or complex management structures and procedures. It's mostly logical, disciplined common sense that can be imbedded into a company's existing procedures and processes. Target Costing is appliedto a wide range of products, processes and procedures in a large manufacturing company. Target Costing helps to: • • • • • • assure that products are better matched to their customer's needs. align the costs of features with customers’ willingness to pay for them. reduce the development cycle of a product. reduce the costs of products significantly. increase the teamwork among all internal organizations associated with conceiving, marketing, planning, developing, manufacturing, selling, distributing and installing a product. engage customers and suppliers to design the right product and to more effectively integrate the entire supply chain.

Target Costing has been shown to consistently reduce product costs by up to 2040%, depending on the product and market circumstances.

What is Target Costing?
Working definition is as follows: “Target Costing is a disciplined process for determining and realizing a total cost at which a proposed product with specified functionality must be produced to generate the desired profitability at its anticipated selling price in the future.” Target Costing is a disciplined process that uses data and information in a logical series of steps to determine and achieve a target cost for the product. In addition, the price and cost are for specified product functionality, which is determined from understanding the needs of the customer and the willingness of the customer to pay for each function. Another interesting aspect of Target Costing is its inherent recognition that there are important variables in the process that are essentially beyond the control of 5

the design group or even the company. For example, the selling price is determined by the marketplace -- the global collection of customers, competitors and the general economic conditions at the time the product is being sold. The desired profit is another variable that is beyond the control of the design organization. It may be set at the corporate level. It is influenced by the expectation of the stockholders and the financial markets. And, the desired profit is benchmarked against others in the same industry and against all businesses. In this complicated environment, it is the role of Target Costing to balance these external variables and help develop a product at a cost that is within the constraints imposed. In short, traditional approaches, such as simple “cost-plus” is a recipe for market failure, and giving the customers more than they are willing to pay for is a recipe for insolvency. There are seven typical characteristics for target costing. These conditions are: I. The target sales price is set during product planning, in a marketoriented way. II. The target profit margin is determined during product planning, based on the strategic III. profit plan. IV. The target cost is set before the new product development process (NPD) really starts. V. The target cost is subdivided (into target costs for components, functions, cost items or VI. designers). VII. Detailed cost information is provided during NPD to support cost reduction. VIII. The cost level of the future product is compared with its target cost at different points IX. during NPD. X. A general rule is aimed for that “the target cost can never be exceeded”.

That target costs are not the only elements that design engineers need to aim for when designing and developing a future product. As mentioned, the quality of the future product in terms of performance, features, reliability, etc. need to be considered as well as the time schedule of the NPD process. It is indeed the combination of the quality of the product, its cost level and the achieved time-tomarket that determines (among other elements) the success of the new product.


Figure shows the interrelationship between target costing and new product planning. As shown, all elements influence each other and are mutually intertwined.

Cost information on current products as well as cost estimates on future products provide necessary input during the whole target costing process, both for determining the target cost and achieving it.


1.The Target Sales Price is set during Product Planning, in a Market- Oriented Way
Establishing the target sales price is the starting point in the target costing process. This implies that the target sales price is decided during product planning, when the characteristics of the future product are determined. The target sales price is set realistic in companies using target costing, and that the process of setting the target price is taken very thoroughly at most firms. The sales price of existing products or the price level of competitor’s offerings typically provide an initial starting point for firms using target costing. A higher price point is only justified if the perceived value for the customer is much better than the existing product or competitor’s offerings.

2. The Target Profit Margin is determined during Product Planning, based on the Strategic Profit Plan

The second characteristic of a target costing system is the early establishment of the target profit margin during the product planning of the future product. Corporate strategic profit planning should drive the target profit margin for a particular future product. Total target profit for a future product should be derived from the medium-term profit plans, reflecting management and business strategies over a period of three to five years. These target profits should then be decomposed into target profits for each product over its expected life cycle. With the estimation of the future sales volumes, the target profit for a future product can be converted to a target profit margin. It is quite a difficult task to imagine a future product portfolio in today’s environment, but adds that without doing this it is impossible to decompose the total target profit into targets for each product. The procedures to compute target profits should be scientific, rational and agreed, otherwise nobody will accept his/her responsibility for achieving the target profit.


Target costing assumes that the target profit margin is set for each new product during the product planning, i.e. before NPD really starts, to ensure the achievement of the firm’s long-term profit plan. That’s why some authors refer to target costing as a technique for profit management.

3. The Target Cost is set before NPD really starts
The third and most well-known characteristic of the target costing process is that the target cost is set early in the new product development process, before design and developing really starts. The decision on the appropriate level of the target cost for the new product to be developed involves a number of calculations. First, the ongoing cost is calculated and then the as-if cost is estimated. Third, the allowable cost is determined and finally the target cost is set between the allowable cost and the as-if cost. Each of these cost items will be discussed next. Figure 12 shows the global picture by a numerical example.

First, the ongoing cost, or the drifting costing is determined which is defined as the best estimate of the future product’s cost. When NPD starts, this best estimate is based on the actual cost of the current product, considering costdown and cost-up factors. Second, the as-if cost is calculated. the as-if cost represents the cost of making the future product if the company had implemented all available costreduction activities. As shown in figure, the as-if cost represents in fact a real


cost reduction, however, it was unlikely to be sufficient to realize the mediumterm profit target, given the market determined sales price. Third, the allowable cost is calculated as the difference between the target sales price and the target profit margin. As mentioned before, the target sales price is set based on market information and top management strategically determines the target profit margin. The allowable cost represents the cost at which the product must be manufactured in order to gain the target profit margin, when sold at the target sales price.

Setting the Target Cost for the Future Product between the Allowable Cost and the As-if Cost Fourth, the target cost is set somewhere between the as-if cost and the allowable cost. Different methods are described in literature to set the final target cost. According to the deductive method, the target cost is set at the level of the allowable cost, i.e. at the difference between the target sales price and the target profit margin The target cost can also be determined by what is called the adding-up or bottom-up method. Here, setting the target cost starts within the NPD department itself. for each subassembly or component the cost is estimated, based on the actual cost of current parts. A cost reduction on each part of the new product is taken into account to get the target for each component of the new product. The total target cost is then obtained by adding up all target costs of the individual parts or subassemblies. Determining the level of the final target cost is an important issue. If the target cost is set consistently too low (i.e. too difficult to attain), the work force will be subjected to excessive cost reduction objectives, risking burnout. The discipline of target costing might then be lost, as target costs will frequently be exceeded. On the other hand, if the target cost is set at a level that is too easy to achieve, the firm will loose competitiveness because new products will have excessively high cost levels. Once the target cost is set, filling the gap between the as-if cost and the target cost is then the major focus for design engineers. This difference between the as-if cost and the target cost is also called the target cost-reduction objective. Indeed, design engineers need to find ways to reduce the cost of the future product with this amount in order to attain the target cost. Filling the gap between the target cost and the allowable cost is then the objective of the kaizen costing process, during manufacturing. This difference between the target cost and the allowable cost is also called the kaizen cost-reduction objective.


4. The Target Cost is subdivided into Target Costs for Components, Functions, Cost Items or Designers
For target costing to work, the target cost for the future product needs to be decomposed in order to have specific targets for designers internally and subcontractors externally. This is the fourth typical characteristic of target costing. Decomposing the target cost to target costs for subassemblies is a difficult issue, since it indirectly determines the necessary cost reduction objectives for the different design teams. Depending on the complexity of the future product, the global target cost should be decomposed into target costs for functions, components, cost items and even for individual designers.

5. Detailed Cost Information is provided to support Cost Reduction
The fifth typical characteristic of the target costing process is the provision of detailed cost information. To see the impact of their design decisions on cost and to monitor the progress towards the cost reduction objective, design engineers need to estimate the cost of the future product during design and development. Information systems such as the target costing support system must provide cost information anytime the designers require it, and not only at the so called milestones in the NPD process. One essential condition for target costing to work is the provision of detailed cost information during the design and development of a future product. Detailed cost information is necessary for mainly three reasons: First, to see the impact of design decisions on the cost level of the future product; Second, to support cost reduction ideas and; Third, to estimate the progress towards achieving the target cost.

6. The Cost Level of the Future Product is compared with its Target Cost at Different Points during NPD


The sixth characteristic of target costing involves the comparison of the estimated cost level of the future product with its target cost at different points during NPD. The progress towards the target cost is essential in target costing. Therefore the cost level of the future product needs to be compared to the target cost, either formally at different points, either continuously during new product development.

7. Aiming for the General Rule that “The Target Cost can never be Exceeded”
The seventh and last characteristic of target costing involves the policy not to exceed the target cost. Without the strict application of such a rule, the cardinal rule, target costing typically lose its effectiveness. The general rule that the target cost can never be increased requires a strong commitment of managers and design engineers to attain the target cost. The general rule that the target cost can never be increased has three consequences. First, whenever costs increase somewhere in the product during NPD, costs have to be reduced elsewhere by an equivalent amount. Second, launching a product with a cost above the target is not allowed; only profitable products are launched. Third, the transition to manufacturing is managed carefully to ensure that the target cost is indeed achieved.


As a totally new product and its industry develops, it starts to compete based on its new technology, concept, and/or service. Competitors emerge and the basis for competition evolves to other areas such as cycle time, quality, or reliability. As an industry becomes mature, the basis of competition typically moves to price. Profit margins shrink. Companies begin focusing on cost reduction. However, the cost structure for existing products is largely locked in and cost reduction activities have limited impact. As companies begin to realize that the majority of a product's costs are committed based on decisions made during the development of a product, the focus shifts to actions that can be taken during the product development phase. The following ten steps are required to install a comprehensive target costing approach within an organization. 1. Re-orient culture and attitudes. The first and most challenging step is reorient thinking toward market-driven pricing and prioritized customer needs rather than just technical requirements as a basis for product development. This is a fundamental change from the attitude in most organizations where cost is the result of the design rather than the influencer of the design and that pricing is derived from building up a estimate of the cost of manufacturing a product. 2. Establish a market-driven target price. A target price needs to be established based upon market factors such as the company position in the market place (market share), business and market penetration strategy, competition and competitive price response, targeted market niche or price point, and elasticity of demand. If the company is responding to a request for proposal/quotation, the target price is based on analysis of the price to win considering customer affordability and competitive analysis. 3. Determine the target cost. Once the target price is established, a worksheet (see example below) is used to calculate the target cost by subtracting the standard profit margin, warranty reserves, and any uncontrollable corporate allocations. If a bid includes non-recurring development costs, these are also subtracted. The target cost is allocated down to lower level assemblies of subsystems in a manner consistent with the structure of teams or individual designer responsibilities.


4. Balance target cost with requirements. Before the target cost is finalized, it must be considered in conjunction with product requirements. The greatest opportunity to control a product's costs is through proper setting of requirements or specifications. This requires a careful understanding of the voice of the customer, use of conjoint analysis to understand the value that customers place on particular product capabilities, and use of techniques such as quality function deployment to help make these tradeoff's among various product requirements including target cost. 5. Establish a target costing process and a team-based organization. A well-defined process is required that integrates activities and tasks to support to support target costing. This process needs to be based on early and proactive consideration of target costs and incorporate tools and methodologies described subsequently. Further, a team-based organization is required that integrates essential disciplines such as marketing, engineering, manufacturing, purchasing, and finance. Responsibilities to support target costing need to be clearly defined. 6. Brainstorm and analyze alternatives. The second most significant opportunity to achieve cost reduction is through consideration of multiple concept and design alternatives for both the product and its manufacturing and support processes at each stage of the development cycle. These opportunities can be achieved when there is out-of-the-box or creative consideration of alternatives coupled with structured analysis and decisionmaking methods.


7. Establish product cost models to support decision-making. Product cost models and cost tables provide the tools to evaluate the implications of concept and design alternatives. In the early stages of development, these models are based on parametric estimating or analogy techniques. Further on in the development cycle as the product and process become more defined, these models are based on industrial engineering or bottom-up estimating techniques. The models need to be comprehensive to address all of the proposed materials, fabrication processes, and assembly process and need to be validated to insure reasonable accuracy. A target cost worksheet can be used to capture the various elements of product cost, compare alternatives, as well as track changing estimates against target cost over the development cycle. 8. Use tools to reduce costs. Use of tools and methodologies related to design for manufacturability and assembly, design for inspection and test, modularity and part standardization, and value analysis or function analysis. These methodologies will consist of guidelines, databases, training, procedures, and supporting analytic tools. 9. Reduce indirect cost application. Since a significant portion of a product's costs (typically 30-50%) are indirect, these costs must also be addressed. The enterprise must examine these costs, re-engineer indirect business processes, and minimize non-value-added costs. But in addition to these steps, development personnel generally lack an understanding of the relationship of these costs to the product and process design decisions that they make. Use of activity-based costing and an understanding of the organization's cost drivers can provide a basis for understanding how design decisions impact indirect costs and, as a result, allow their avoidance. 10. Measure results and maintain management focus. Current estimated costs need to be tracked against target cost throughout development and the rate of closure monitored. Management needs to focus attention of target cost achievement during design reviews and phase-gate reviews to communicate the importance of target costing to the organization


A competitive product must address aesthetics, schedule or time-to-market, factors will vary from product to product customers or users of a product will performanceat less cost. factors such as cost, performance, and quality. The importance of these and market to market. And , over time, demand more and more, e.g., more

Cost will become a more important factor in the acquisition of a product in two situations. First, as the technology or aesthetics of a product matures or stabilizes and the competitive playing field levels, competition is increasingly based on cost or price. Second, a customer's internal economics or financial resource limitations may shift the acquisition decision toward affordability as a more dominant factor. In either case, a successful product supplier must focus more attention on managing product cost. The management of product cost begins with the conception of a new product. A large percentage of the product's ultimate acquisition or life cycle costs, typically seventy to eighty percent, is determined by decisions made from conception through product development cycle. Once the design of the product has been established, relatively little latitude exists to reduce the cost of a product. Decisions made after the product moves into production account for another ten to fifteen percent of the product's costs. Similarly, decisions made about general and administrative, sales and marketing, and product distribution activities and policies account for another ten to fifteen percent of the product's cost. When a company faces a profitability problem and undertakes a cost reduction program, it will typically reduce research and development expenditures and focus on post-development activities such as production, sales, and general and administrative expenditures. While not suggesting that these are inappropriate steps to take, the problem is that it is too late and too little. Most of the cost structure in a company has been locked into place with the design decisions made about the company's products. A cost reduction or profitability program has to start with the design of the company's products at the very beginning of the development cycle.

The following definition of terms will provide a common basis for discussion: Recurring production cost = production labor + direct materials + process costs + overhead + outside processing


Non-recurring costs = development costs + tooling Product costs = Recurring production costs + allocated non-recurring costs Product price or acquisition costs = Product costs + selling, general & administrative + warranty costs + profit Life cycle costs = Acquisition costs + other related capital costs + training costs + operating costs + support costs + disposal costs

In many companies, product cost or life cycle cost considerations are an afterthought. Costs are tallied up and used as the basis for determining the product's price. The primary focus is on product performance, aesthetics, or technology. Companies may get by with this approach in some markets and with some products in the short term, but ultimately competition will catch up and the product will no longer be competitive.

In other companies, cost is a more important factor, but this emphasis is not acted upon until late in the development cycle. Projected costs of production are estimated based on drawings and accumulated from quotes and manufacturing estimates. If these projected costs are too high relative to competitive conditions or customers requirements, design changes are made to varying degrees to reduce costs. This may occur before or after the product has been released to production. The result is extended development cycles and added development







In some organizations, development costs receive relatively little attention as well. There may not be a rigorous planning and budgeting process for development projects. Budgets are established without buy-in from development personnel resulting in budget overruns.

Effective product cost management requires a design to cost philosophy as its basis since a substantial portion of the product's cost is dictated by decisions regarding its design. Design to cost is a management strategy and supporting methodologies to achieve an affordable product by treating target cost as an independent design parameter that needs to be achieved during the development of a product. A design to cost approach consists of the following elements:
• • • • • • • • • An understanding of customer affordability or competitive pricing requirements by the key participants in the development process; Establishment and allocation of target costs down to a level of the hardware where costs can be effectively managed; Commitment by development personnel to development budgets and target costs; Stability and management of requirements to balance requirements with affordability and to avoid creeping elegance; An understanding of the product's cost drivers and consideration of cost drivers in establishing product specifications and in focusing attention on cost reduction; Product cost models and life cycle cost models to project costs early in the development cycle to support decision-making; Active consideration of costs during development as an important design parameter appropriately weighted with other decision parameters; Creative exploration of concept and design alternatives as a basis for developing lower cost design approaches; Access to cost data to support this process and empower development team members; Use of value analysis / function analysis and its derivatives (e.g., function analysis system technique) to understand essential product functions and to identify functions with a high cost to function ratio for further cost reduction; Application of design for manufacturability principles as a key cost reduction tactic; Meaningful cost accounting systems using cost techniques such as activitybased costing (ABC) to provide improved cost data; Consistency of accounting methods between cost systems and product cost models as well as periodic validation of product cost models; and

• •
• •


Continuous improvement through value engineering to improve product value over the longer term.

Executive management, marketing, program/product managers, and development team personnel all need to have an understanding of customer affordability constraints or competitive market place requirements. Everyday customers buy products with functions, features and performance in excess of their needs and wonder how much is money is wasted on these unneeded capabilities. A keener awareness of design to cost requirements is needed. This happens when product development team members and executive management have direct contact with customers to understand their true needs and hear their sensitivity to costs directly, or when they are exposed to competitor's product pricing in the market place. Based on this awareness of customer affordability or design to cost requirements, cost targets should be formally established. These targets should be developed based on pricing formulas and strategies and consideration of price elasticity. Prices and target costs will also have to consider projected production volumes and amortization of non-recurring development costs. In a more complex product or system, the top-level target cost will need to be allocated to lower level subsystems or modules. This will establish a measurable objective for a product development team where multiple teams are involved in a development project.


In an environment where development cost is significant relative to total recurring production costs, more attention will need to be paid to managing these nonrecurring development costs. Non-recurring development cost will be a function of the extent of new product and process technology and the extent of use of new materials, parts and subsystems. If product is an evolutionary step with minimal development risk, non-recurring development costs will be lower. The use of standard parts and modules from other existing products will also lower non-recurring development costs. This suggests a strategy of not letting product and process technology application get too far ahead of customer affordability requirements. Product development team members should buy-in to or commit to these product cost targets and development budgets to improve the chances of meeting these objectives. When empowered product development teams actually develop these budgets and targets, a sense of commitment to these budgets or targets develops. If the budgets or targets are established by someone outside the product development team (e.g., by a product or program manager, a management team, a system integration team, or a project engineer), the targets and budgets should be carefully reviewed with the team members to insure they understand these cost objectives and the assumptions behind them. While competition will generally dictate that stretch goals be established, these goals should be accepted by the team as achievable.

Once a team has a set of requirements and a cost target established, they will begin exploring alternatives as part of the design process. In the absence of other information, they will tend to evaluate a product concept primarily based on its performance merits and, at best, secondarily consider a subjective estimate of the relative costs of the design alternatives. Ad-hoc cost studies or trade studies may be prepared for significant issues, but tools to regularly support this process are lacking. Tools and information need to be provided to a product development team so that they can more proactively and objectively consider the cost implications of various design approaches on a regular basis. A product cost model or life cycle cost model provides an objective basis for evaluating design alternatives from a very early stage in the development cycle. As the organization proceeds through the design of both product and process, the product cost model is used to project and accumulate product costs to use as a factor in evaluating design alternatives and to refine the design to meet cost targets. If it is determined after extensive evaluation that the product requirements cannot be achieved at the target cost, the requirements and targets will need to be re-evaluated and modified.


Early in the development cycle, the product cost model will be based primarily on characteristics of the product design with relatively little consideration of the actual manufacturing process. The model will be driven by general design parameters, product/part characteristics, and critical parameter tolerances. The model will be implicitly based on assumptions about existing processes and process relationships to types of materials, sizes and tolerance requirements. Later in the development cycle, a different type of product cost model will be used that will consider the specific manufacturing processes. This type of model will be built around existing processes where relatively good historical cost data should exist. On occasion, new manufacturing processes will need to be considered. Data will need to be gathered as a basis for creating or extending the product cost model for the new process(es). Information to support this model development can be obtained from equipment suppliers, other users of this manufacturing process, facility engineers, and manufacturing engineers. Cost data will also need to be obtained for many purchased parts and subassemblies. This information may be available in the form of catalog prices or supplier quotations. However, to support cost projections much earlier in the development cycle, a close working relationship with the company's supplier base will allow preliminary cost projections to be obtained without the formalized commitment of a quotation. The supplier relationship and company information needs may even develop to the point that the company works with the supplier to develop a supplier cost model based on the supplier's process capabilities. A company's initial attempt with a product cost model may utilize a spreadsheet program or a bill of material cost roll-up capability. The focus is on accumulating and tracking estimated material, part and assembly costs. This summarization capability may start with cost estimates and update the estimates with quoted prices or catalog prices for purchased items or manufacturing's estimates based on preliminary drawings for fabricated items and assemblies. Over time, a more sophisticated product cost model should be developed that will project costs based on the characteristics of parts and the overall product design. This type of cost model might be based on commercially available design for manufacturability (DFM) or design for assembly (DFA) software packages. These systems typically generate an estimate of fabrication or assembly labor time and costs or machine cycle time. and costs as part of their capabilities. In addition, there are commercially available cost models that allow a company to develop a custom model of their manufacturing processes and project even more exacting cost estimates based on their product or part characteristics. These individual packages or modules will be oriented toward a limited part or product domain, e.g., manual or automated assembly, printed circuit boards, sheet metal, injection molding, casting, etc. Multiple modules will typically be needed to support overall product cost modeling. In addition, a database reporting capability or spreadsheet will be needed to accumulate the many individual elements of cost


from these various cost modeling system components so that effective overall trade-off's can be made. Over the course of the development cycle, several different costing tools may be used by an organization. In the early stages of product development, an estimating system may be used to respond to a customer request for quotation or request for proposal or to develop an internal estimate to prepare a cost justification for the development project to management. This cost model would be based on parametric or analogy techniques. Parametric techniques would take general characteristics about the product such as size, weight, number of functions, etc., and use these parameters to develop a general cost estimate. Analogy techniques would take a similar product's cost and use a "same as except for" approach to develop a cost estimate based on the cost of an existing item. As the development cycle moves into the product design phase, cost models and DFM/DFA tools as just described would be used. These estimates would be more refined since more is known about the design of the product and its cost drivers. Once the product design is essentially complete, tools and methods such as computer-aided and manual process planning and tools to support the development of labor standards would be used to develop even more refined cost estimates. Finally, as the product moves into production, cost accounting systems would collect costs by product, assembly, part, and operation. These costing tools are illustrated below.

These costing tools should have a consistent basis for accounting for costs and a consistent set of rates. In addition, the organization should establish procedures to periodically validate the cost models by comparing the projected costs with actual costs and adjusting parameters in the model to yield projections closer to actual experience. In some cases, life cycle costs may need to be considered as the basis for making design decisions. This will add to the complexity of a cost model. Data will need to be gathered on operating costs (e.g., facilities, training, manpower, fuel or energy consumption, etc.), maintenance costs, and disposal costs. While these costs can be modeled, historical data related to operations, reliability and 22

maintenance often is needed. This means that a customer will need to provide this data or that the company have close working relationships with customers where this data is routinely gathered. To support the operation of these cost models, cost data will need to be readily accessed. Some companies try to restrict access to cost data to prevent this information leaking out to competitors. This restricted access undermines a design to cost methodology and empowerment of the product development teams. This data needs to be made available to support cost modeling. Typical data required will be labor rates, overhead rates, learning curves, efficiencies, historical and projected parts costs, and escalation projections for labor and materials. Traditional approaches to allocating overhead or burden costs generally based on direct labor. However, direct labor is becoming an insignificant cost component in many products. Further, there is frequently a lack of understanding of sunk costs and fixed versus variable indirect costs. All of this has led to distortion of overhead cost allocations and inappropriate design and sourcing decisions. As companies move toward activity-based costing, the quality of the cost data will improve. Costs will be more closely based on the consumption of resources and the aberrations associated with allocating indirect costs will diminish.

In the absence of product cost models and product development teams, each functional organization will make decisions from their own perspective, trying to manage the elements of cost that they are responsible for. For example, decisions to minimize non-recurring design engineering expenditures may result in a less producible product, driving up material and labor costs in manufacturing. Decisions to minimize tooling capital expenditures may also have the same effect in manufacturing costs. Test engineering may try to minimize its non-recurring development budgets and capital expenditures resulting in a less automated test process and higher recurring test costs for production verification. Product development teams provide the organizational mechanism to bring the various disciplines together to optimize product costs from an enterprise perspective. Cost models provide the means for the team to objectively consider the implications of various development decisions. A company operating philosophy that emphasizes cost as a factor in the development decision-making process is a final requirement. Access to product cost projections early in the development cycle will improve decision-making about design alternatives and lead to refinement of the design to 23

come closer to the established cost targets. These costs projections will aid decisions about the design of the manufacturing process as well, focusing attention of elements of the product costs that do not meet the target and allowing consideration of alternative processes while it is still early enough in the development cycle to introduce new processes. The key is to emphasize management of product costs during development, not merely accumulating costs as designs are completed.

Since the decisions made during the product development cycle account for seventy to eighty percent of product costs, product cost management must begin with the start of product development. Product development personnel must understand competitive pricing or customer affordability requirements. Target costs must be established at the start and used to guide decision-making. Development personnel must operate as entrepreneurs in making hard decisions about the product and process design to achieve target costs. Cost models must be provided to support decision-making early in the development cycle. And the quality of information and the cost models must be continually improved and refined. This increased focus on product or life cycle costs will lead to significantly reduced costs and more satisfied customers.


CAM-I (Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing – International) was established 1972 as an international non-profit-organization to carry out research and scholarship on management and manufacturing technology systems. CAM-I has launched an extensive study labeled as target cost management (TCM). The CAM-I study group made the following conclusions concerning the major changes needed: • • • • An overall management system is required to set the targets and to channel the decisions of all those involved in product definition and development towards wider corporate goals. Product management must widen to incorporate both physical and service attributes measured in terms of customer value. Cost management must shift its focus from accounting for the sake of accounting to enable expenditures to be used as a planning tool for creative product and process design. Product profitability must be assessed and planned in the context of a comprehensive life cycle and the relationship of a broad market value chain.

Target costing is a cost management concept. It is built on a comprehensive set of cost planning, cost management and cost control instruments which are aimed primarily at the early stages of product and process design in order to influence product cost structures resulting from the market-derived requirements. The target costing process requires the cost orients coordination of all product related functions. Japanese management accounting uses classification of predetermined and actual costs. Predetermined costs are the expected measures of the cost before production, while actual costs are calculated after production. Predetermined costs are divided into standard costs and estimated costs. Standard costs depend on statistical data and are utilized as an index for cost management. Estimated costs depend on the managers’ past experience or intuition. Target costing, as it has been developed in Japan, was invented by Toyota in 1965. Thus, the use of target costing has a long tradition at Toyota. At Toyota, they talk about cost planning and cost control, i.e. influencing product costs during the design phase and keeping the running costs as low as possible. Reducing cost through continuous improvement, “cost kaizen”, is becoming relatively less important, because the efforts made throughout the company will inevitably lead to fewer opportunities to cut costs.


For example, the lifetime target profit Ps of a new model (e.g. Celica) is calculated as follows: Ps = P% * Sa where P% is the profit ratio of sales and Sa is the target sales. The sales target is calculated using the retail price Sa = Us * Qs where Us is the target retail price and Qs is the target production volume over the product’s life. The present cost control system is focused on the design phase. The system consists of five stages: planning, concept design, basic design and manufacturing preparation. The phases are outlines below: STEP1: Planning Summarize the new product plan in a document that clarifies the design requirements: 1. Outline the product’s concept and mission. 2. Generate primary specifications for the product’s performance and design. 3. Schedule the product’s design, manufacturing and marketing. 4. Define product target cost, selling price and volume. STEP2: Concept design Formulate the basic concept of the new product based on the design requirements mentioned in step 1. 1. Formulate the main functional areas. 2. Assign the target cost to the functional area of the new product. 3. Design the basic product concept under the target cost.


4. Use a rough cost estimate to ascertain whether the basic product concept has been designed to fit the target cost. STEP3: Basic design Make a general drawing of the product based on the previous steps: 1. Assign target cost to the top and middle functions of each functional area or main component of the new product. 2. Frame a general drawing under the target cost. 3. Use a rough estimate to ascertain whether the general drawing has been designed to fit the target cost. STEP4: Detailed design Write the product’s manufacturing specifications based on: 1. The detailed manufacturing specifications under the target cost. 2. A detailed cost estimate to ascertain whether the product’s manufacturing specifications have been designed to fit the target cost. STEP5: Manufacturing preparation Write the product’s manufacturing specifications based on: 1. The design of the manufacturing process, type and jig under the target cost. 2. The detailed cost estimate used to ascertain whether the manufacturing preparations for the product are accomplished within the target cost. EXAMPLES: Boer and Ettlie (1999) report a case where a car manufacturer could have prevented a $300 million mistake by using proactive target costing. The survey was conducted among the top-performing US R&D units and resulted in 126 questionnaires, of which 77 showed an orientation towards market-driven cost control. Xerox is mentioned as one the well-known practitioners of systematic proactive cost planning. (Boer & Ettlie 1999.)


According to Shank & Fisher (1999), target costing seems to be applied mostly at the early stages of product development, but the case of Montclair Paper Mill shows how the target costing principle can be applied at a later stage of the product life cycle. The situation of Montclair Mill seemed gloomy: The mill was making $700 loss per every ton of paper sold. The management believed that the loss was related to the market price rather than their own manufacturing. The standard cost of $2900 per ton was thought to be based on a solid analysis and was taken for granted. The implementation of target costing was introduced with a new target of $1162 per ton, which equals a 60% cost reduction. The management accepted the challenge, and after ta cost-driven analysis, four major reductions were accomplished: 1. Fiber cost: 60% cost reduction. 2. Paper machine cost: Yield from 47% -> 75%. 3. Dye costs: material savings of $250 per ton incorporated in the yield improvement at the paper machine resulted in an amazing $769 reduction per ton. 4. Conversion costs: Based on benchmarking, a reduction from $303 to $150 was challenged with the risk of possible outsourcing. During 18 moths, the cost dropped to $240, and the continuous improvement seemed to gain even more. Together, these produced the desired level of costing and a dramatic turnaround in the mind set. (Shank & Fisher 1999.) Cooper & Slagmulder (1999) gives a comprehensive review of the application of target costing. He emphasizes the strategic value of target costing in managing the company’s future profits. According to their study of seven Japanese companies, the target costing discipline has been structured into three sections.

Three main elements of the target costing process (Cooper & Slagmulder 1999).


Successful application of this process requires a highly disciplined approach. Each of the main phases must be balanced to avoid unrealistic target setting. The process starts from the left, by setting the company’s long-term sales and profits objectives, and continues through the product level targets to component level target costing. The role of the product chief engineer is remarkable in the fundamental decisions concerning product and component target costing. The senior management tends to push down the product target costs as much as possible while the chief engineer must find the realistic limits in co-operation with the design teams and the suppliers. Once these have been decided on, the Cardinal Rule is applied to ensure that discipline is maintained throughout the design process. The Cardinal Rule of target costing is: “The target cost must never be exceeded”. The Cardinal Rule controls the process in three ways: 1. If the design does not reach the target costs, the offsetting saving must be found somewhere else. 2. The company does not launch any product exceeding the target costs. 3. The design transfer to manufacturing must be well controlled to achieve the target cost. As a conclusion, the early involvement of proactive product cost management has been highlighted as a major advantage of some leading companies in highly competitive markets.


Changing Product Life and Requirement Product life cycles are getting shorter and shorter, quite often one or two years, and sometimes to less than one year in high-tech industries. Consumers are demanding new and diversified products in short intervals. Due to factory automation, robots and computer-controlled manufacturing systems are replacing the conventional production lines. What all these changes mean is the traditional standard costing systems, which emphasize cost control in the manufacturing phase of the product life cycle, are no longer effective. With a one-year product life, controlling costs in the manufacturing phase simply doesn't accomplish much. Once the product is developed and designed, there is a limit to how much cost cutting companies can do in the manufacturing stage. Manufacturers have learned cost management should start up front at the initial stage to be effective and measure up to their foreign counterparts. A new cost management concept has been developed and practiced by worldclass manufacturers to deal with the needs in the product development and design phase. Control Costs Early Target costing, although its concept is used throughout the product life cycle, is primarily used and most effective in the product development and design stage. Born out of the market-driven philosophy, target costing is based on the pricedown, cost-down strategy, which has allowed companies like Sony and Toyota to win a considerable share of their respective markets. In companies, costs of designing, producing, marketing, and delivering products dictate the mode of competition. Accountants usually measure, based on allocation routines, the total cost of each product. Most popular cost accounting methodologies, including the emerging activity-based costing, focus on product profitability. No matter how effective the cost accounting methodology may be, managers and accountants must heed the shareholders' needs for satisfactory short- term profits, measured by ROI or ROE. This focus on meeting the shareholders' short-term needs has been well documented, and easily understood if we look at the Big Three automakers' practice of raising prices whenever there is a restriction placed on Japanese


imports. The practice is effective in achieving the desired ROI or ROE, but it hurts the carmakers' ability to increase market share in sales volume. An increased market share would give them a buffer in the future if they choose to sacrifice sales volume to increase revenue and longterm profit. In companies where target costing is used, there seems to be a different culture and attitude. They place more emphasis on their relative position in the market and product leadership. Since more than 80% of product cost is already determined by the time product design and processing is complete, cost management must start (and done substantially) at the design stage.

Connect with Profit Planning Target costing is very closely linked with the company's long-term profit and product planning process. This link allows the company to focus on profit and product in an integrated strategy, which does not discriminate against highquality, high-price, high-margin products that require high costs. This is in direct contrast to a typical manufacturer's practice, in which the question persists, "How much does the product cost?" This question follows a new product design into the cost accounting department, which estimates the new product costs based on the prices of purchased materials and parts, labor costs, and other manufacturing overhead costs under the current production standards. The marketing department then addresses the issue of whether they can sell the new product. This departmentalized policy formulation of a typical company, which focuses on cost, tends to discriminate against developing a new high-quality, high-price product. Target costing derives its bases from the company-wide profit plan. The target profit for each period is determined for each of the new and existing product portfolios. The profitability of each group of related products is the focus, rather than the profitability of individual products. The desired profit margins are traded between products in the same group, depending on what stage the product is in its life cycle and what leadership role the product can play in acquiring a new segment of the market. Setting the Target Costs The main theme in the entire target costing practice is, "What should the new product cost?" It is not, "What does it cost?" Wben the target sales price is established based on market research, the desired profit is subtracted to yield the allowable cost. This allowable cost is top management's dream. This is a target which is very hard to attain, usually impossible in the short run. The desired profit is determined based on the company's desired return on sales (ROS), rather than ROI. There are two primary reasons for using ROS. The first is technical, the second is strategic: 31

* The Technical Reason. In the fastchanging market of today, manufacturers need a variety of products in low volumes to survive. Calculating the profitability of each of those products in ROI is well- nigh impossible. * The Strategic Reason. In the implementation of long-term strategies, manufacturers need to focus on the profitability of portfolios of related products and the role each product plays for the product group. For this, ROS provides a better measure. The allowable cost is compared to the estimated cost, which is based on the current standards of materials, labor, and overhead. In the meantime, intensive studies of competitors' parts are done. After motivational considerations have been made, the gap between allowable cost and estimated cost is reviewed on various dimensions. The target cost is then established as an attainable target which will motivate all personnel to achieve. Now, the struggle begins. Achieving The Target Costs At this point, cost management people help engineering planners and designers decompose the target cost into each cost element according to their relations to detailed production functions. Production engineers determine standards for material and part usage, labor consumption, etc., which become the basic cost data for financial accounting purposes. These standards are also used as a database for material requirements planning (MRP). The struggle to achieve the target costs takes place in and outside the company. As soon as the above-mentioned standards are established, purchasing people negotiate with outside suppliers as to the prices of purchased materials and parts. Negotiations also take place among design, engineering, marketing, and other departments in the company, and compromises are made in their efforts to get within the target cost range. The fundamental mechanism manufacturers use to achieve target cost, nevertheless, is value engineering (VE).

Value Engineering
The idea behind VE is very similar to activity analysis which was first developed and used by General Electric. GE's activity analysis was not, however, and was not intended to be, linked to corporate profit planning, target profit, and target costs as they are practiced In Japan. VE is a products functions functions mechanism Japanese manufacturers use to enhance the value of and services, which is measured by the relationship between the performed by products and services and the costs incurred. The are defined by different companies in different ways. Some are geared


toward process improvement while others are focused on satisfying the needs of customers. The process of VE consists of describing the functions of each product, part, and service, and quantifying the components of those functions. For example, a printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturer's VE activities for the drilling operation include panel size, number of images per panel, lot size and frequency, number of holes, hole size, stack height, laminate thickness, post plate drill, and fine line class. In the design phase, management science techniques are employed on the many aspects of the drilling operation to improve upon the current method. Post-Audit of Target Costing Performance The short life cycles of manufactured goods in today's market require manufacturers to recover investment in a short time. A short payback period is usually assumed in planning and evaluating target costs. Post- audit of target costing performance is done on a regular basis to examine the degree to which targets have been achieved. If targets have not been achieved, investigations follow.

The Real Weapon The real power of target costing is that it allows companies to successfully motivate employees and enforce cost management action plans. It is a disciplined approach to managing costs and improving processes and products. Target costing, as briefly illustrated here, is also very compatible with the emerging ABC, which can provide necessary cost information for implementing target costing.


A number of factors influence target costing, including senior management's objectives and your company's long-term profit objectives. But while every company uses target costing differently, there are some things that will influence one’s target costing efforts no matter what type of business one is in or what one’s corporate culture is. They are the type of customer one sell to and the type of product you make or service you offer. It may seem obvious to tie the cost of one product or service to the needs of one’s customers. But target costing makes more of a defined effort to achieve this objective than traditional costing methods. That effort extends to researching customer needs. "In research-gathering seminars, I ask how many people own one of our products, and no one raises their hand," says Boeing's Hallin. "Then I ask how many people have ever flown in one of our planes, and everyone's hand goes up. Although ours is a business-to-business company, we want to understand not only how our immediate customers [airplane purchasers and lessors] use our product, but how their customers, the passengers, use it as well." Target costing says you need to match your firm's activities to your customer's requirements. For example, Suppose you're an automaker and you've determined your customers want comfort. Evaluate your product as it relates to enhancing customer comfort, perhaps by looking at the springs in the seat, the upholstery, the angle of the seat, the car's suspension. Enhance those things and reduce costs in areas that aren't as important to the customer. Uncovering customers' real needs can occasionally be difficult even with a simple product, and even for the best of companies. When Procter & Gamble developed their Pringle's potato chip, they asked people what they wanted from a potato chip, and the answer uniformly was freshness. The product was launched in a vacuum-sealed can to maximize freshness, and initially, it was successful. But then customers found out that the product didn't taste very good. Procter & Gamble had missed taste as a customer need. If in creating product functions that reflect what the customer wants your costs become too high to hit your target, then its advisable not to give up. Find other areas less important for customer satisfaction and try to reduce those costs. If the process doesn't work the first time around, try again. Sometimes, target costing needs many iterations to carry it through. 34

How does product influence target cost? Generally, the longer the product development cycle from the design stage to the production stage, the more difficult it may be to establish firm target costs early on. For instance, if cycle is up to four years, which is how long it typically takes at Boeing according to Hallin, the target cost establish may need to be revised over the years. Some companies with a long product development cycle take the process in incremental steps. They have an allowable cost for each component function, and then the total allowable costs of all the functions for making the product are added to arrive at an expected cost of manufacturing the product. It's usually impractical for a company with hundreds of design and production components to evaluate all of them, so a representative sample of allowable costs is taken and applied to all components. From these costs comes an updated target cost. Companies with shorter product development cycles may find they can stick to their initial target cost more easily because they are not as susceptible to the changes that time can impose. So, the simpler and more straightforward is the product, the easier it is to implement target costing,


Successful planning and implementation of the effective target costing system helps to derive the following benefits: First, target costing is future-oriented. Some companies more often design the product, then calculate the cost, and finally try to figure out whether it will sell. If the cost is too high, the product goes back to the drawing board for redesign or if no additional time is available the company launches the product and settles for a smaller profit.

Traditional Method versus the Target Costing Approach

Under this traditional western approach cost reduction activities can only start late in the NPD process, whereas companies using a target costing system start


with cost reduction from the concept generation phase, hence long before a prototype of the product even exists. Therefore, target costing a “feedforward” system, whereas the traditional system is a feedback system. The single largest change in firms, implementing target costing is to stop reporting what products should cost, but instead report what products will cost. This pro-active concentration on a future product’s cost allows to prevent costs rather than to reduce them after the fact. Second, the use of target costing ensures profitability on the short and long run. Products that show up as low-margin or unprofitable are quickly dropped. Similarly, ideas for new products whose profitability projections fail to clear certain hurdle rates usually wither away on the accountant’s spreadsheet. In the past, many leading companies, especially those that led by technical differentiation, could release new products anticipating a future price increase. Explain that competitive markets no longer allow a company time to introduce a product and then scale up, because imitators bring me-too products to market so rapidly that first mover companies have no time to establish brand loyalty, let alone recover their development costs.

Third, target costing reasons backward from customers’ needs and willingness to pay. Target costing focuses the design team on the ultimate customer and on the real opportunities in the market. They call it “commitment to the customers”. If targets cannot be met, the company cannot simply raise the price and launch the product. Admit that such discipline may be painful to the people who work on a project, but it sends the important message that the customers come first, and that if the company does not create value for them, a competitor will. Four, target costing is used at the design stage, focusing on the cost implications of design decisions. Designers must know how design affects such things as material consumption, yield, machining methods, and line time. The intensity by which the product is designed to its target cost is contrary to a situation where the projected cost can be exceeded without penalty. By setting a target cost for a future product, all members of the design team consider the impact on the cost while deciding on design alternatives. The use of a target costing system prevents design engineers saying: “If we just add this feature, the product will be so much better and only cost a little more.” Five, target costing gives a clear, quantitative cost objective to design engineers. Target costing is totally different from the traditional approach or the cost-plus approach. Under the traditional approach the new product’s expected profit margin, not the cost level of the future product becomes the dependent variable when launching a new product. Under this traditional approach, the profit margin is determined by subtracting its estimated cost from its anticipated sales


price (sales price - cost = profit margin). Under the cost-plus approach, the product’s expected sales price becomes the dependent variable. This means that the sales price is determined by adding the desired profit margin to the expected cost of the product (cost + profit margin = sales price). Under both approaches product designers have no specified cost objective to achieve. Instead, they are expected to minimize the cost of the product as they design it.

Six, the use of a target costing system forces management to set the NPD goals early in the NPD process. Setting target costs requires that management decides on the quality of the future product as well as on the time-to-market, based on market research and the company’s strategy. Setting NPD goals requires making trade-offs between the different characteristics of a future product. Marketing people are traditionally oriented to sell products and want as much features as possible for a new product, but do not want customers to pay for it. Under target costing, management need to balance cost and features against the customer’s ability (or willingness) to pay for all this.

Nevertheless, some authors also suggest that the use of target costing during NPD can lead to some undesirable consequences. First, it takes time and money to bring sweeping changes into an organization. There's also the problem of changing workers' behavior. Why rock the boat if things are going well? The answer, target costing proponents say, is simple: In the long run company will be better positioned to compete in the marketplace with target costing than without target costing. Second, target costing can be severely criticized because of excessive demands it puts on subcontractors. As major customers pass their cost-reduction demands down to suppliers, the suppliers push their suppliers and employees to do more, some of whom are already doing all they can handle. It can be called the battle of intense negotiation between the company and its outside suppliers. This excessive demand goes hand in hand with a restricted autonomy of the suppliers. Third, the use of target costing information might cause organizational conflicts. One aspect involves the difficulty to decompose the total target cost to target costs of individual components. It can be called as the battle among the departments, since most of the time different departments are responsible to design parts or subassemblies. Deciding on the component-level target cost 38

means deciding on the effort the different departments will need to do in reducing costs. Organizational conflicts might also arise when design engineers feel that other parts of the organization are getting a free ride while they try to squeeze every penny out of a product. Finally, some researchers conclude that the extreme customer focus of target costing might lead to market confusion, with too many products, too many options. Constant attention to customers’ desires causes extreme market segmentation. As a result the large number of different products confuses customers.

In general, most researchers extensively report on the benefits, while the drawbacks are discussed to a less extent. Orientation on the future by feedforward control, ensuring profitability on the short and long run, providing clear cost objectives for designers and suppliers, and focusing on the cost implications of design decisions are just a few of the most frequently mentioned benefits. Though, the use of target costing can also lead to extensive pressure on design engineers and subcontractors, which can raise organizational conflicts and management burnout.


The company, Major-Cable, implemented Target Costing for a standard product they had just started selling to a new OEM customer. The company had beaten their competitors owing to ease of use of their patented cable products. The OEM used these cables on the industrial machines they manufacture. Major-Cable was excited about this opportunity because it was their first sale to this OEM which is a very large user of specialized shielded cables. In order to capture this business marketing had authorized a very low price. The Target Costing project was designed to improve the profitability of these cables to this customer and other OEM customers.

The Process
• • Identifying the customer; and the people within the customer that affect the value created for the customer. Reviewing the customer’s stated needs in detail. In preparation for the Target Costing event, the marketing team had conducted several interviews with the customers. The interviews included purchasing, engineering, materials handling, production, and sales personnel. Linking the customer’s needs to the features of the company’s products and service to understand how Major-Cable fills the customer’s needs. Understanding the amount of value created by each of the customer’s needs and converting them into hard dollars.

The Issue
Target Costing step was undertaken to nail down the customer’s needs by specifying them exactly. One need from this customer was to have cable with a minimum of 20 meters length. This has been a problem for the client because delivery is made from their centralized distribution center which cuts the cable to the customers required length and they can not always guarantee to have the right quantity of 20 meter lengths. The plant provides the distribution center with much longer lengths, but the specific 20 meter length is difficult to maintain.

The Solution
The initial solution to this problem was for the production plant to create a new product number for 20 meter lengths and manufacturing these specially for the OEM customer. The team then asked the question; “Why does the customer need 20 meter minimum


lengths?” It turned out that the machines the customer manufactures require several pieces of cable and the total amount of cable for any machine never exceeds 20 meters. They wanted the 20 meter lengths so they can issue those to the manufacturing location that then cut them into the lengths they require for the specific machine they are currently manufacturing. Our client’s plant has “off-cuts” of cable that are too short to send to the distribution center. These off-cuts are stored as finished goods in case there is occasional demand for a short length; but these off-cuts are mostly scrapped at year-end. The customer’s need for short lengths interested the production manager. He suggested that instead of supplying the product from the distribution center, they deliver directly to the customer. Instead of delivering 20 meter lengths, they can deliver the cable cut to the precise lengths required by the customer that day. Instead of supplying the product on large round spools, they can place the cut pieces into production kits in cardboard tubes or boxes to suit the customer's needs. After this was discussed and agreed with the customer, the result was: • • • • The customer is delighted to have just-in-time deliveries of cable kits. This reduces their manufacturing costs. The customer is paying a higher price because they are receiving kits instead of spooled cable. Many of the cable lengths can be provided from the off-cuts that previously were mostly scrapped. The cost of these pieces is effectively zero. The cardboard boxes or tubes are much less expensive than the previously used spools and the overall cost of the packed product is less.

The sales people were also delighted. They did not know the production plant could supply cut pieces. They thought the production plant would only make long lengths (economic order quantities) on large spools.

The Power of Target Costing
This is an example of how Target Costing creates more value. Many people think of Target Costing as a method for cost cutting. We always focus on increasing value as well as reducing cost. Without Target Costing this company would not have had the opportunity to bring together the cross-functional team needed to understand the customer’s needs and find manufacturing, logistics, and marketing methods to create more value for the customer. Everybody has “won”. The customer has reduced their costs, their inventory, and their production lead time. The production plant has reduced it’s material costs and scrap. The company's revenues (and sales commissions) have increased owing to the higher price of the cut piece kits. This shows the power of Target Costing in practical action.


This project help us understand that target costing is the process of determining the target cost for future products early in the new product development (NPD) process and of supporting the attainment of this target cost during the product development process. The target cost represents the maximum cost for the future product, given the quality requirements and the time-to-market objective. Its importance lies in the fact that this helps in forecasting at the initial stages. With product life cycle becoming small and small, sometimes to one year, traditional methods of modifying the cost at the manufacturing stage do not hold much importance as there is a limit to how much cost can be controlled at the manufacturing stage. Though target-costing technique is applied in all the stages of product life cycle, but it plays an important role particularly in product development and design stage. Target costing management suggests that one is best able to control the cost through the proactive involvement in the product cost, which has been highlighted in some of the leading companies. Also, it’s important to understand that the factors that influence the implementation of target costing. It can be senior management attitude, long-term company objectives. Each company must set its target cost on the basis of the environment in which it operates while keeping in mind the type of customers it deals with and the type of product it offers to them. Many benefits of the use of target costing information are reported. In sum, the target costing process enables a future-orientated view on cost management, it secures profitability on the short and the long run, it motivates design engineers to look at the cost implications of design decisions and it establishes an unmistakable cost objective in designing and developing a future product. Though, some drawbacks of target costing are reported as well in current literature, such as extreme pressure to design engineers and subcontractors. On the whole, target costing is an important tool to increase the efficiency and position of the organization in the market if it is carefully implemented and managed.


Following are the sources used for completing this project:

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