Cost information in engineering design -Potentials and limitations of activity-based costing
Sandström, Jaana Marita (2001)
Aineistoon ei liity tiedostoja.
Sandström, Jaana Marita
The purpose of this thesis is to analyse activity-based costing (ABC) and possible modified versions ofit in engineering design context. The design engineers need cost information attheir decision-making level and the cost information should also have a strong future orientation. These demands are high because traditional management accounting has concentrated on the direct actual costs of the products. However, cost accounting has progressed as ABC was introduced late 1980s and adopted widely bycompanies in the 1990s. The ABC has been a success, but it has gained also criticism. In some cases the ambitious ABC systems have become too complex to build,use and update. This study can be called an action-oriented case study with some normative features. In this thesis theoretical concepts are assessed and allowed to unfold gradually through interaction with data from three cases. The theoretical starting points are ABC and theory of engineering design process (chapter2). Concepts and research results from these theoretical approaches are summarized in two hypotheses (chapter 2.3). The hypotheses are analysed with two cases (chapter 3). After the two case analyses, the ABC part is extended to cover alsoother modern cost accounting methods, e.g. process costing and feature costing (chapter 4.1). The ideas from this second theoretical part are operationalized with the third case (chapter 4.2). The knowledge from the theory and three cases is summarized in the created framework (chapter 4.3). With the created frameworkit is possible to analyse ABC and its modifications in the engineering design context. The framework collects the factors that guide the choice of the costing method to be used in engineering design. It also illuminates the contents of various ABC-related costing methods. However, the framework needs to be further tested. On the basis of the three cases it can be said that ABC should be used cautiously when formulating cost information for engineering design. It is suitable when the manufacturing can be considered simple, or when the design engineers are not cost conscious, and in the beginning of the design process when doing adaptive or variant design. If the design engineers need cost information for the embodiment or detailed design, or if manufacturing can be considered complex, or when design engineers are cost conscious, the ABC has to be always evaluated critically.
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