Monday, 27 February 2012

Brentwood Busimums Network

On the last Monday of the month at 09:30 I host the Brentwood Busimums Network at Larchwood Childrens' Centre, Brentwood. It's a child-friendly networking group for local business mums. We had our first meeting in January, so today will be our second meeting. 

In January I did a brief presentation on Value Engineering, and this month Claire Mackaness will be doing a short presentation on the value of social networking, as well as providing cake using ingredients from her new Your Inspiration At Home (YIAH) catalogue. 

The sessions are totally free to attend but please be aware that it is incredibly informal - we join our little ones on the floor! 

I have provided last months' notes from my Value Engineering presentation below: 

Value =          Quality
Value engineering aims to reduce costs without compromising the quality of a product or service. Compromising quality would reduce the value of the product or service completely.  
Benefits of Value Engineering include:
  • A clearer understanding of your customers needs
  • Consideration of more options, alternatives and innovative ideas
  • Increased efficiency in production or delivery
  • Promotes a holistic approach, encourages Whole Life Costing techniques to be used, and minimises “false economies”
  • Achievement of optimum value for money, with sole focus on the purpose of the product of service, value engineering can sometimes lead to increased quality.
  • Improved team working.
Depending on the industry and the size of the company carrying it out, value engineering involves the collaboration of key role players, designers and sometime specialist external value engineers. They come together for a few days where they will follow a set procedure which will resemble:
  1. Understanding the brief and the clients’ objectives
  2. An audit of solutions and processes
  3. Critique
  4. Exploration of alternatives
  5. Discussion
  6. Decision
A client wishes to have their garden re-landscaped. The designer has the opportunity to ask the client many questions in order to formulate a brief. Standard questions include the exploration of the uses of the garden, what the client would like and how much they are willing to spend etc.
Using Value Engineering, the designer would encourage the client to expand upon those uses, how often they will be using certain aspects and what for exactly, which things are the most important. For instance, the client could simply say that a lawn area is important. If the designer specifies a medium quality lawn, it might not be sufficient of the client was looking for something on which to play boules, and conversely if it is important to the client for their children, a medium grade lawn may be over specific and thus wasting a proportion of the budget which may have delivered better value if spent elsewhere within the scheme.  
In a nutshell, elaboration of the client brief and taking the time to properly understand it together with alternative solutions enables the designer to ensure that they are allocating more of the budget to the most important features, thus providing optimum value for money.  

This process can be modified to suit most business industries.
I hope that you find my handout useful and do let me know if you would like to come along to the next meeting.


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