The Bell 505 JRX helicopter is expected to go into production this year at more than a 50% cost reduction compared to its predecessor, the Bell 206 B3. The dramatic cost reduction for this clean sheet design is largely the result of Bell's decision to use Galorath Incorporated's SEER for Hardware and SEER for Manufacturing. The two SEER cost-estimation suites allowed Bell project managers to model and track costs throughout the design process in order to maximize performance while minimizing both design and final production costs.
This made it possible for Bell to achieve the significant cost reduction required to make the 505 JRX competitive in today's market, while at the same time incorporating advanced design features, including extensive use of composite materials, as well as a fully integrated glass flight deck.
“One of SEER's strengths is its ability to influence design decisions, pointing the way to the most cost-effective solution,” said Dan Galorath, President and CEO of Galorath Incorporated. “For over 20 years now, SEER has been providing world class organizations with predictive modeling in order to help them perform realistic forecasting."
According to Bell, SEER was crucial in performing trade studies, which allowed Bell’s project team to clearly understand how specific design decisions would affect costs. SEER also enabled the design team to go beyond the traditional cost/hours per unit of weight metrics, using an extensive set of sophisticated, parametrically-modeled cost drivers, which included improvements in technology, percentage of new design, and economic factors.
Javier Provencio, a Bell Helicopter Cost Analyst, explains: “We were able to understand the cost implications of design alternatives, at every point in the development cycle.”
Additionally, Bell used SEER to perform “should-cost” analysis, providing them with a solid basis for price negotiations with vendors when ordering outsourced items. SEER gave Bell procurement managers a clear understanding of the material requirements of the project, allowing them to take a long-term, fact-based strategic approach to organizing the Bell 505 JRX production supply chain.