Conceptual Design to Cost: A new systems engineering tool

Incorporating cost considerations in the system design is a critical part of the system development process. However, since current methods of incorporating cost considerations into the design need knowledge of the cost of the actual components to be used in the system; the technique know as Design to Cost (DTC) is not suitable for use in the conceptual or in the preliminary design phase where it is most needed. This paper introduces a methodology for performing DTC in the front - end design phase that has been used with some success to provide cost estimates. This methodology, Conceptual DTC (CDTC) fills a critical gap in the systems engineer’s toolbox. This paper begins with a short review of DTC, and then describes the CDTC methodology which allows cost factors to be treated in the same manner as the other system factors such as functional, performance, reliability and safety etc. as an integrated part of the design process, rather than as an external bolt-on.

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