Short Interval Control for the Cost Estimate Baseline of Novel High Value Manufacturing Products-A Complexity Based Approach

Oliver Schwabe, Essam Shehab, John Erkoyuncu

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Novel high value manufacturing products by default lack the minimum a priori data needed for forecasting cost variance over of time using regression based techniques. Forecasts which attempt to achieve this therefore suffer from significant variance which in turn places significant strain on budgetary assumptions and financial planning. The authors argue that for novel high value manufacturing products short interval control through continuous revision is necessary until the context of the baseline estimate stabilises sufficiently for extending the time intervals for revision. Case study data from the United States Department of Defence Scheduled Annual Summary Reports (1986-2013) is used to exemplify the approach. In this respect it must be remembered that the context of a baseline cost estimate is subject to a large number of assumptions regarding future plausible scenarios, the probability of such scenarios, and various requirements related to such. These assumptions change over time and the degree of their change is indicated by the extent that cost variance follows a forecast propagation curve that has been defined in advance. The presented approach determines the stability of this context by calculating the effort required to identify a propagation pattern for cost variance using the principles of Kolmogorov complexity. Only when that effort remains stable over a sufficient period of time can the revision periods for the cost estimate baseline be changed from continuous to discrete time intervals. The practical implication of the presented approach for novel high value manufacturing products is that attention is shifted from the bottom up or parametric estimation activity to the continuous management of the context for that cost estimate itself. This in turn enables a faster and more sustainable stabilisation of the estimating context which then creates the conditions for reducing cost estimate uncertainty in an actionable and timely manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia CIRP
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event5th CIRP Global Web Conference Research and Innovation for Future Production, 2016 - Patras, Greece
Duration: Oct 4 2016Oct 6 2016


  • Context complexity
  • Cost estimate baseline
  • Cost estimate uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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