Costing Complex Products, Operations & Support

Report Number: MBS-CE-11-196

Series: Cost Estimating

Category: Complex Product Systems

Report Series: Sponsored Report

Authors: Michael Pryce

Title: Costing Complex Products, Operations & Support

Published: 2011-11-01

Sponsored By: Acquisition Research Program

Status: Published--Unlimited Distribution

Research Type: Other Research Faculty

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Keywords: Costing, defense acquisition, products, complexity, operations, support, maintenance, combat aircraft, complex product systems, CoPS, Dynamic CoPS


Complex products and systems (CoPS) are major capital goods in which customers play a central role from design through to disposal, such as large defense equipment programs (Davies & Hobday, 2005). The central idea of the research reported here is that the nature of complexity in CoPS (here referred to as Dynamic CoPS, typically combat aircraft) may have a significant effect on the range of possible variance in their operations and support (O&S) costs. Operational use and environmental factors also have an important part to play in the cost of supporting Dynamic CoPS, which simple parts count approaches may miss.
The research is based around a set of case studies of combat aircraft. The purpose of the case studies is to explore how different approaches in the U.S. and UK to O&S impact, and illustrate, some of the key drivers of costs in O&S.
Comparisons of the approaches to costing derived from the case studies are made to current practice in the U.S. DoD costing community, as well as to current research on complexity. The findings are presented alongside recommendations for enhanced approaches to costing operations and support of Dynamic CoPS.