Cost Management

A View on Why Cost Cutting Programs Don’t Work

October 18, 2020


In this short video from Andrew Hone’s company identifies why only one in 25 cost-cutting programs work.



The video can also be accessed on 

Avoid these Big Blunders in Cost Management


Eric Hiller exposes the biggest blunders leaders make when it comes to product cost management and design to value. 

Product cost management (PCM) and design-to-value (DtV) are two areas in companies capable of delivering the greatest of impact, but are sadly prone to the biggest blunders by leadership.

Trying to save one’s way to growth

As great as product cost management and some of its sub disciplines like should-costing are at increasing your profit, but they will not grow your top line. To do that you’re going to need to focus on design-to-value. Make sure that you understand both the benefits and the limitations of these techniques.

Not understanding the massive leverage of COGS savings on margin

Cost of goods sold (COGS) is almost always the largest expense on the income statement of a product company. Often it is 70 to 90% of each dollar of revenue. People think of cost reductions in terms of big percentages (e.g. reducing product cost by 50%). That is one of the things that often scares people off from attempting such a transformation period, however you do not need to save massive percentages on cost of goods sold to meaningfully impact the bottom line People forget that margins at product companies are often thin, often less than 10%. Therefore, the leverage is huge. For example, if a company had a COGS of 80% and reduced it to 79%, they only saved 1% as a percent of sales. But, if the margin was 5%, reducing COGS of 1% equates to a 20% increase in margin. Executives might think design-to-value or product cost management transformations are “too expensive.” They are; they are too expensive NOT to do.


Key points in this article include:

  • Focusing on short term savings without a plan for long term Product Cost management 
  • Not believing cost avoidance is more important than cost savings
  • Thinking that a tool is the solution, not simply an enabler
  • Under investing in a separate team and capability building for the organization


Read the full article, The biggest mistakes executives make in design-to-value and product cost management, on


Learn How to Improve Cost Management Discussions


Eric Hiller recently published the first article in a series for Industry Week. This week, the article  focuses on how an executive (and other people who are not cost experts) can understand what the cost management team is communicating.

We have all been in a meeting where miscommunication happens. One of the biggest challenges when dealing with analytics in business is that the more powerful the analytics, the harder it is to explain to other people not involved directly in the analyzing. Exactly how the analytics works and why the results should be trusted by our colleagues and leadership is a challenge. The same is true with product (or service) cost management—specifically, when using what are commonly called “should-cost models”, (models for estimating the cost of a product or service).

A big part of the communication problem is that there is not just one type of cost model. Cost management is a broad field with a variety of methodologies to address the almost infinite world of situations for which one wants to know the cost of manufacture or service delivery. Even if an executive has some understanding of one particular cost-modeling technique, it can often be confusing when the analytics team uses different technique.


Questions answered in this article include:

  • At what level of the BoM (bill and material) or WBS (work breakdown structure) is the object or service being costed?
  • Does the cost model focus on the object or service, or does it focus on the process?
  • What analytical approach is used in the cost model? 


Read the full article, 5 Questions for Better Cost Management Discussions, on the Industry Week website.