Cost Reduction and Market Growth through
Customized Value, Quality, Productivity Workshops

Cost Reduction VA DFM Process Improvement New Product QFD Re-engineering
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Value Workshops
identify and
value, quality, and cost
improvement opportunities.
Product / Process Workshops
detail improvements
for key performance variables
while reducing total costs.

Brecker Associates specializes in conducting customized Cost Reduction, Process Improvement (or Problem Solving), New Product Development, QFD, and Re-engineering workshops to improve business performance and profitability. We work with cross-functional team(s) to

  • Improve Value,
  • Improve Quality (reduce defects),
  • Increase Productivity,
  • Reduce Costs,
  • Reduce Cycle Time,
  • Improve Supplier Performance,
  • Increase Customer Satisfaction,
  • Increase Market Share, and
  • Increase PROFITS.
The latest Quality, Value, and Productivity concepts and techniques, including
  • Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
  • Design to Cost
  • Design for Manufacturability / Serviceability (DFM)
  • Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)
  • Design of Experiments (DOE)
  • Supply Management
  • Activity-Based Costing (ABC)
  • Cycle Time Reduction
  • Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)
  • Lean "Manufacturing"
are selectively applied "hands-on" and yield immediately implementable results.

The 2-5 day workshops generally follow a Six Sigma - Value Analysis format

  • Assemble available data
    -- customer requirements, quality, productivity, costs
  • Map (outline) the product / service and the processes
  • Analyze data - fill gaps
  • Brainstorm improvement opportunities
  • Refine and prioritize ideas
  • Quantify recommended improvements
  • Present results
Individual workshops focus selectively on customer needs, value-added, product / service design, business processes, costs, quality, etc. Results are guaranteed.

General training in the Value, Quality, Productivity concepts and techniques covered in workshops can be arranged. Executive introductions to Six Sigma and continuous Improvement are also available.

Cost Reduction

Cost Reduction workshops focus on material, labor, and overhead costs at the business or product line level. Workshop preparation includes assembling relevant material costs (including out-sourcing) and labor costs both direct and indirect. Breakdowns may also be by product line, customer, location, or supplier. Quality costs, rework, value-added data are also collected. A multi-functional team assesses the cost, quality, and productivity data and brainstorms solutions based on cost, Lean Thinking, supply management, productivity, and quality concepts. High opportunity areas are evaluated and prioritized.

Six Sigma - Value Analysis (VA)

Six Sigma - Value Analysis workshops follow a similar process at the product line level. Detailed product / service data is collected and analyzed by a multi-functional team that contains workers or supervisors (or has ready access to them). More attention is usually placed on process performance -- productivity, quality, cycle time. Brainstorming develops consensus on detailed solutions for product / service re-design and process re-redesign. The benefits and costs of high potential solutions are quantified. Many solutions are quickly and easily implementable.

Design for Manufacturability (DFM)

Assembly drawing

DFM workshops review manufactured products and processes in detail. Emphasis is placed on product variations and on quality and productivity data. The objective is to enable Six Sigma performance through the alignment of designs and manufacturing processes. Teams focus on reducing Critical to Quality (CTQ) variation. Design for Assembly (DFA) and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) principles are utilized. Reviews of the manufacturability of existing products lead to significant improvements for new products.

Process Improvement

Improvement efforts in the service industry and in business processes generally focus on improving process productivity, quality, and cycle time. Intangible customer needs (ease of use, trust, etc.) are quantified, Critical Success Factors (CSFs) are determined, and performance is evaluated. The process is mapped and quality issues are examined. Brainstorming is used to resolve issues, eliminate non-value added activities, and reduce cycle times. Action plans are developed for high priority recommendations.

New Product Development (NPD)

Reducing the time to market for high quality new products is the goal of the New Product Development (NPD) Workshop. This can be approached from the viewpoint of examining NPD as a process itself or by undertaking the development of a new product / service.

When examining NPD as a process, a multi-functional team quantifies the customer and business requirements of the process. The existing process is mapped and its effectiveness is examined -- resources expended, timeliness, sigma level of product and process. Competitive performance and Best-In-Class processes are evaluated. Improvements required to meet business goals are brainstormed and refined. Consensus is achieved on a revised NPD Process.

The development process can also be examined in the course of developing a new product / service. Business and customer requirements are quantified using the QFD process (described below). The development process is mapped with emphasis on verification of product and process performance to CTQs and costs. A consensus timeline is developed.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

A multi-functional team of marketing, design, product line / program, customer contact (customer service, service, etc.), and other key product / service personnel examine customer and business needs. In-depth customer information may include market surveys, focus groups, and other market research information. Key customer requirements such as quality, delivery, and functional performance are ranked. Performance to the competition is evaluated. Critical product and business process characteristics (CTQs and CSFs) to meet these requirements are determined. A CTQ map for the product and processes is developed.


Business or major process re-engineering focuses on aligning personnel activities with business strategies. The Value of key activities is assessed. Additional performance information can be collected using

  • Performance Reviews
  • Activity Analysis Surveys
In a Performance Review, an independent team interviews a cross-section of employees and assesses performance against the Baldrige Total Quality criteria, other quality standards, or a customized set of criteria. Improvements needed in key business processes are identified.

An Activity Analysis Survey is a low cost Activity-Based Costing (ABC) snapshot of the value-added in individual processes and activities -- it does NOT require changing the financial system. Employees fill out a short (coded) survey on how they allocate their time and assess the value of the tasks which consume their time. The statistically aggregated results are analyzed to highlight low value activities. A team of key managers and professionals analyze the statistical results and suggestions to identify value and cost improvement opportunities.

A workshop is conducted to develop and prioritize a consensus list of value and cost improvement opportunities. The appropriate Cost Reduction, Six Sigma - Value Analysis, Process Improvement workshops are then used to develop specific improvement approaches.

Discuss your specific needs

To arrange a workshop, discuss your specific needs,
or to obtain more information:

  • Call us at 412-341-7523 or
  • E-mail us at info@(this site)


Copyright © 2001 Brecker Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved
For more information or to comment, e-mail: info@(this site)
Last updated 7/24/01