Cost Modeling is a common activity for any business. However it cost modeling cost forecasting rising cost of oil can also be a very challenging activity. In this introductory article, we will briefly talk about what it is, why small businesses should use it, the typical challenges a small business may face in doing cost modeling or forecasting and finally what tools and techniques are best suited for this activity. Informal reports are emerging that an increasing number of dealerships are beginning to scale back their markups on aftermarket insurance and financing. The dealer finance markup, as well as dealer insurance markup, could be pretty high as often as not.
While I agree that modeling on the long run is of extreme value, for many products, to have a model that has the needed precision, takes a lot of time and engineering efforts that are too costly for many companies.
When the cost is added to the modeling, and if on the long run makes the overall cost of developing or maintaining a product lower, then the development of the model is justified.
In the end the modeling has to be a cost diferentiator for the development of products.
From an academia point of view cost most of the time does not matter, the value is on the research results and this on itself has a cost that most of the time is at best ignored.
At some point in the education process, eliminating the rote, number-crunching task can seem desirable. Concentration on teaching the theory and practical applications of the subject would seem to be a better use of that time.
On one level it probably is. However, I remember many "a-ha" moments that came while struggling with the number-crunching. Fighting to get reasonable results (or if we had it ahead of time, the correct answer) forced me to consider and reconsider my assumptions, my strategy and the constructs I had created to solve the problem. Many times the theory stuck only after I personally worked through the problems.
And then there is the exercising of the brain that occurs while solving by "hand" - I'm not necessarily talking about doing long division or 5 digit multiplication by hand (though I believe that should still be a requirement in primary school), but instead working systematically through the steps of solving an equation.
While technology can be used to augment our education, there was a benefit to the rote memorization and repeated hand problem solving approaches that used to be emphasized in education. Sometimes when benefits are intangible and invisible, they are easily missed when expediency and speed come into the mix.
Raghavendra, I have to agree with you. Since we usually use computers to solve problems in science and engineering, we should concentrate on coming up with and using the model. This should, of course, be a change in emphasis. I once took a graduate Computer Science class in computer architecture in which the half was a statistics class. This was a complete waste of time. The instructor should have just given out a supplemental write-up or text for that part of the class. I find this happens often though. There should be a basis of mathematics for engineering and science that is assumed. A lot more could then be covered.
I am currently working on a MS in Applied Statistics. We use software exrensively, but the classes concentrate on modeling and interpretation. This should be more the case in engineering. I think part of the problem is a weakness in the mathematics requirements and training.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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