Making an Estimated Guess
Putting a price on something can seem impossible and sometimes this is true, some things are priceless. But do we even have a remote understanding of the worth of things that we do put a price on? If you take a closer look at profit models you would be astounded how some companies earn their money. A Xbox is sold with a loss, but big money is earned by selling the games with vast profits. On the other hand, a brand feminine eyeliner in gift wrap is twenty times as expensive as it is worth. The selling price of products tells us nothing about how much a product is really worth. So how do we get an understanding about what something is really worth? Well, here is where a decent Estimation comes in.
The third year students of the study Industrial Product Design at the The Hague University are given the challenge to find out what a product, which they have designed themselves, is really worth. They do this by estimating the effort that has been put into making the product. Think about the price of raw materials, production processes, finishing, packaging and transport.
Prices for processes as production and assembly are rather hard to find. Companies don’t like to share their prices in case the competitors will try to cut them off with better deals. The prices that are available (mostly present in extremely expensive software) are based on prices that companies give anonymously and thus are not very reliable.
After going through a hell of a job to find all the prices I decided it would be a real waste if nothing was done with all the information we collected. I asked my fellow students to give me their info so I could work it into one collective database. Then I automated the process of calculation to speed up future price estimates. In the end this was a real success. When people saw the benefit of the small ‘program’ (which was nothing more then a really fancy excel sheet) even senior students participated and used their knowledge to extend the database.
At the end of term I had a fully functioning excel program that does not only make a product estimation easy, but that also has a clean page setup. The students that shared their knowledge now only have to fill in their specifications. Then the calculation is automatically generated. With a single click the entire estimation can be printed or add as an appendix in a report!