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The Dashboard Tool: Taking Cost Analysis to the Next Step By Combining Costs with Capabilities to Evaluate COAs

Methods and Models I Track



Although life cycle cost estimates can provide a comprehensive view of the costs for a program, cost estimates do not provide the entire picture needed to make sound business decisions because they only focus on the costs for a program. To determine how programs are actually performing, the system’s capabilities must be linked with the program’s costs to properly quantify how programs meet their requirements with respect to cost. Booz Allen has developed an Excel Based tool called Dashboard that estimates both the program’s costs and the capabilities achieved for a program. This is accomplished by estimating the capabilities of alternatives considered along with the cost estimates of each alternative to ultimately determine the cost and capabilities impact of each alternative.

This paper describes in greater detail the process and methodologies used to develop the Dashboard Tool as outlined below:

The Dashboard Tool initially develops a baseline cost estimate for the program and identifies the capabilities achieved with respect to the Key Performance Parameters targeted for the program. Dashboard is designed for a program that is considering alternatives to upgrade an existing system. Cost models are incorporated within the Dashboard tool to develop life cycle cost estimates for major components that are being considered for a system. These cost estimates include Recurring Production costs, integration costs, transportation costs, training costs, consumable and reparable costs and disposal costs. Dashboard then estimates the projected capabilities for each alternative to quantify the costs and capabilities of each alternative. By estimating the capabilities and costs at the subcomponent level, Dashboard allows users to either select from a set of new alternatives for their system or elect not to replace existing components for the system. By providing this option, users can then select from both existing components and new components under consideration to build different configurations for their system.

Since the cost models used within the Dashboard tool exist in a cost model library, cost estimates and capabilities estimates are produced automatically as users select and deselect components for their system as they modify their configurations. Dashboard displays the baseline estimate and capabilities achieved for the baseline system alongside cost estimate and capabilities achieved for the different configurations developed through the selecting of different alternatives. As a result, Dashboard provides a comparison of the costs and capabilities achieved to the baseline estimates to show the overall cost and capability impact associated with each configuration. Users are also able to determine how the capabilities achieved under each configuration compare to the KPPs for the program. By combining the costs of a program with the capabilities achieved, USMC leadership can determine the cost and capability impact of each alternative while determining if the KPPs for the program can be met. In summary, Dashboard will enable USMC leadership to determine the overall return (in terms of capabilities achieved) associated with the costs that are incurred for a program.


John Ko
Booz Allen Hamilton
Mr. John Ko attended the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (now known as the Tepper School of Business) at Carnegie Mellon University to earn his MBA in Operations Research, Finance and Information Systems.
Mr. Ko has over ten years of experience in supporting the US Army and the United States Marine Corps as a Cost Estimator. Mr. Ko joined the Ground Vehicle Team of the Weapons Systems Division of ODASA-CE as an Operations Research Analyst. At ODASA-CE, Mr. Ko developed Life Cycle Cost Estimates (LCCEs) for the Stryker Program and Future Combat Systems and represented ODASA-CE in reconciling of LCCEs developed.
Mr. Ko joined SAIC where he continued to support ODASA-CE by developing and updating LCCEs and Cost Analysis Requirements Documents (CARD) for U.S. Army and joint ground vehicle programs. Mr. Ko also developed various Cost Estimating Relationships (CERs) and cost estimating methodologies for a variety of ground vehicle technologies. These included developing cost models to estimate the production costs of Active Protection Systems (APS), ammunition autoloader systems, UGVs, Hybrid Electric Drive systems, MRAP Vehicles and band track systems. Mr. Ko also developed CERs to estimate the O&S cost impact associated with the weight gain that vehicles experience as they are upgraded and when add-on armor is added to vehicles.
At Booz Allen Hamilton, Mr. Ko supported USMC program offices such as PM AAVS, JLTV Program Office, GCSS-MC, and AC LCL. Mr. Ko developed the LCCE and CARD for the AAV SCE, I-UGWS, and Survivability upgrades. Mr. Ko also supported the JLTV Program Office by completing alternative cost analysis research to develop new costing methodologies used to validate and verify the existing JLTV PLCCE. At Booz Allen, Mr. Ko applied his cost estimating experience to the logistic requirements of a program by developing the LRFS for the GCSS Program Office and developing the cost model library for the LRFS Cost Estimating Tool (LRFS CET) to support AC LCL programs. The LRFS CET is designed to automatically populate an LRFS for a program by using specific program requirements provided by a logistician to identify the cost models needed for each LRFS cost element in the cost element structure. Mr. Ko continues to further develop the LRFS CET cost model library by adding new cost models applicable to the LRFS.
Mr. Ko is currently a SCEA Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst (CCE/A) and has obtained the DAU Business Cost Estimating and Financial Management (BCEFM) Contractor-Equivalent of Level III Certification.