James (Jim) A. Rains, Jr., CVS, is an associate consultant with DRM Associates. He got his start in value analysis/value engineering (VA/VE) as a workshop participant. At that time he learned about the power of value analysis, in 1980 mainly because he applied it first hand to a project, and implemented numerous design proposals that improved the quality of the product, while at the same time achieved a significant cost reduction.
Jim worked for General Motors for over 31 years, mostly in Industrial Engineering type capacities. His GM career included working in Rochester, NY, Dayton, Ohio and Warren, Michigan. His work activities allowed him to be highly participative in GM assembly plants throughout the world, and now Delphi component plants across the United States. He was recognized throughout General Motors as an expert in indirect labor. His efforts to improve material flow, method improvements and labor measurement processes has resulted in over $50,000,000 of annual savings. In addition, Jim has facilitated the following VA/VE projects:
- A leading automotive company successfully used value analysis in an effort to reorganize its Industrial Engineering organization at corporate headquarters. Eighteen Engineering Group Managers (EGM) met for two intensive days and strictly followed the VA Job Plan. The result was a new organizational alignment to better serve its customers and to allocate more resources to the product development process. The EGM’s had as their objective to perform a functional analysis and a resource allocation for the corporation. This was to include how they will align themselves to support their customers, achieve maximum effort to RONA, and perform the lines of business on the major process strategy analysis. As a result of this effort, upper management agreed to the recommendations and immediately began the new department alignment.
- A leading automotive company used value analysis with lean manufacturing/engineering concepts integrated into the Job Plan. Numerous studies were performed to significantly reduce the costs associated with the vehicle development process. In a period of about two years, over 2000 people were removed from the development process.
- A manufacturer of precision printing equipment was required to develop a new design that would reduce its cost from approximately $72,000 per unit to less than $30,000. Two value analysis teams met for over one week to work on this issue. By applying the VA Job Plan and identifying new technology that will work in their system, the desired objective was met and surpassed. The resultant design proposal was estimated to cost $28,000.
- A leading firm for lighting transformers and ballasts spent one week with a multi-disciplined team to review the design for cost improvement and value enhancement. The design studied was over 20 years old and had a well thought out arrangement of steel laminations and copper wire. Achieving electrical properties to satisfy customer requirements was essential. However the current design did not meet all international performance standards. The team developed a new design that would meet all international standards and reduce the cost by over 22 percent. The investment required to implement the new design was less than one year payback and the total development time was one year.
- A leading automotive supplier had a strong market niche to competitively design and manufacture fuel systems for higher end, luxury vehicles. The firm could not adequately compete in lower end, less expensive systems. A design team was formed to utilize the value engineering process. After four intense days the team successfully accomplished its objective of developing a detailed proposal for an inexpensive fuel system that met the customer expectations and could be produced at a cost to enable the firm to earn a reasonable profit.
- A leading seal firm allowed the design of a dishwasher seal to be analyzed by company outsiders. The firm had previously value engineered the product. The outside team that was not saddled with previous concepts or types of rubber molding operations offered the seal company a new design that reduced the cost significantly. Even with this low cost component, the annual savings offered was in excess of $560,000.
- A leading automotive supplier used the value analysis job plan to make improvements to its processes. Numerous non-traditional applications of VA offered extremely successful results. Examples of these non-traditional uses are: quick set-up/changeover, planned maintenance, improved plant layouts, improved utilization of a packaging operation, improved scheduling system, analysis of abnormal tooling and equipment expenditures, analysis of customer quoting system and analysis of its product development organization.
- A large hot-forging company used the VA Job Plan to study a transmission part for a leading automotive company. Prior to the study, the firm thought it was losing about $1.50 per part shipped. During the study the team determined that the loss was much greater, approximately $3.50. The product had a selling price of about $11.25, so the percentage loss was significant. The firm invited the customer to the workshop to better understand the difficulty in manufacturing the component and to understand the effort that was being made to take cost out of the component. The result of this effort is that the VA team identified enough cost reduction opportunity that when coupled with a slight price increase that was allowed by the customer, the firm was able to make a small profit on the component.
- A leading hydraulic systems company received an order to produce a specially designed check valve for a contracted purchase price of $51.00. Prior to the workshop they had developed a design that could be produced for $49.00, leaving a very tight profit margin. The result of the workshop was a new design with an estimated cost of $19.00. All the performance and functional requirements were met or exceeded.
Jim has a BSIE Degree from Kettering University (formerly General Motors University) and a Masters in Industrial Administration from Central Michigan University. He is currently a Life Member of SAVE International and an active member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). Jim earned his Certified Value Specialist (CVS) in 1988 and became a Life CVS in 2000. He has held a number of positions in SAVE International including Executive Vice President (’98 – ’99), President (’99 – ’00), Immediate Past President (’00 – ’01), Regional Vice President (’91- ’93), and Southwestern Ohio Chapter President (’90 – ’91). He has facilitated over 600 teams in the value methodology and/or lean concepts. Jim has published numerous articles in publications around the globe, and has presented papers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Hungary and Japan, and has conducted workshops and seminars in the United States, Mexico, France, Germany, England, Sweden, Austria, Korea, Australia and the Middle East.
Jim has received recognition for his work including entrance into the distinguished organization known as the College of Fellows of SAVE International and earned the “Excellence in Value Engineering Award” from SAVE International for Delco Products (Division of General Motors) in 1991. He also received a Presidential Citation Award from the Society of Japanese Value Engineering in Tokyo in 2001.