Objectives. The first phase of the job plan has two basic objectives:
To obtain thorough understanding of the project, system, operation, or item under study by a rigorous review of all of the pertinent factual data
To define the value problem by means of functional description accompanied by an estimate of the cost and worth of accomplishing each basic function
Key questions. During this phase, the following key questions must be answered:
What is it?
What does it do?
What must it do?
What does it cost?
What is it worth? (What is the least the function could cost?)
1. Use good human relations. The matter of human relations is of utmost importance to the success of any VE study. “People” problems are sometimes more difficult to resolve than technical problems. The effectiveness of a VE team leader’s efforts depends upon the amount of cooperation the leader obtains from the engineers, designers, estimators, managers, etc. If one is skillful in approach, diplomatic when resolving opposing viewpoints, and tactful in questioning a design requirement or specification, one will minimize the problems of obtaining the cooperation necessary to do the job effectively.
2. Collect information. All pertinent facts concerning the project, system, operation, or item must be drawn together. Getting all the relevant facts and getting them from the best sources are of paramount importance. The VE team should gather complete information consistent with the study schedule. All relevant information is important, regardless of how disorganized or unrelated it may seem when gathered. The data gathered should be supported by tangible evidence in the form of copies of all appropriate documents. Where supported facts are not obtainable, the opinions of knowledgeable persons should be documented.
In addition to specific knowledge of the item, it is essential to have all available information concerning the technologies involved, and to be aware of the latest technical developments pertinent to the subject being reviewed. Knowledge of the various construction processes that may be employed is essential. The more information brought to bear on the problem, the more likely the possibility of a substantial cost reduction. Having all the above information would be the ideal situation, but if all of this information is not available, it should not preclude the performance of the VE effort.
The determination of functions is a requisite for all value studies. The decision to pursue the project through the remaining phases of the job plan can be made only by determining function, placing a worth on each required function, and then comparing worth against actual or estimated cost. The determination of function should take place as soon as sufficient information is available to permit determination of true requirements. All members of the VE study team should participate in this exercise because the determination of required function is vital to subsequent phases of the job plan.