The ATCost life-cycle costing system has been developed by Eagle
Vector to enable senior managers to understand and control the costs
of implementing and supporting major systems without the need to
be directly involved in low level bottom-up costing work. ATCost
can be applied right from the initial concept stage of a new project
and used during all subsequent phases.
EV has much experience in the development of major systems; for
example, it has worked for many years with the UKís National Air
Traffic Services (NATS) and has provided support to its major projects.
ATCost is a generic ATC modelling system that can be tailored to
match the specifics of client projects. EV can supply the modelling
system together with consultancy and training to support the use
The system has been implemented to run on PC systems with Windows
and consists of a number of modules. The key modules are implemented
using Microsoft Office tools and these are combined with the use
of off-the-shelf proprietary low level costing tools. As appropriate
and if the client prefers, other proprietary costing tools can be
integrated into ATCost. An overview of the system is shown below.
ATCost consists of the following major elements :
- Master Cost Breakdown Structure model
- Proprietary and custom low-level cost estimating tools
- Project & Product database
- User interface
Master Cost Breakdown Structure model
At the heart of the system is the Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS).
The CBS contains all the cost items that go to make up the cost
of the system over the complete lifecycle - broken down to the level
at which costs can need to be made visible and be controlled. It
is important that the CBS covers all costs; normally included in
the CBS will be not only the direct costs of acquiring and supporting
the system but also costs involved in training personnel, constructing
support facilities etc. We have developed a generic model that is
applicable to a wide range of ATC systems. The first step in applying
this model is to review the CBS against the needs of the client
and his specific projects.
ATCost enables costs to be broken down over monthly and annual
periods. It can be customised to cater for other financial accounting
In the main costs table, costs are usually entered at todayís cost
rates. However, most costs are susceptible to inflation and ATCost
can automatically calculate the effects of inflation. Inflation
rates are available for each costing period. In addition, since
inflation rates for equipment and staff, for example, can be different,
five separate inflation rate tables are available and the appropriate
one set for each item in the cost table.
In making the decision about the most appropriate system where
costs to the customer are spread over a number of years, the Net
Present Value (NPV) concept extremely useful for supporting the
selection of the most cost-effective solutions. ATCost supports
NPV and a table is available containing discount rates for each
Proprietary and custom low-level estimating tools
ATCost supports two major approaches to building bottom-up estimates
of the cost information needed to populate the master CBS table
- Parametric cost estimating
- Analogous cost estimating
Parametric models make use of linear and non-linear cost estimating
functions in order to calculate cost data. They can be used from
the initial concept stage of a project. ATCost can use custom-designed
parameter cost estimating models and the proprietary PRICE True
Planning tools. Other proprietary tools can be integrated into ATCost.
Analogous cost estimating is based on the use of historical project
and product data where similarities can be seen to exist with the
project being costed. The ATCost Project & Product database provides
input data for this modelling.
Many of todayís major systems make extensive use of Commercial
Off-the Shelf (COTS) software and hardware items. EV supplies acquisition
and support data in respect of COTS items through Projects & Products
ATCost provides a simplified user interface in order to :
- select the right table for data entry
- report generation
- production of a range of pre-defined report types
- loading, saving and version control.
Project & Products database
The object of the database is to provide cost data on
- previous relevant projects
- key products/components used in many of todayís ATC systems
There are a number of routes to populating this database. Some
of the data is generic - based on EVís previous experience. Some
can be specific to the nature of the project. EV has been involved
in numerous actual major projects for clients; naturally this data
is initially confidential, but EV will be happy to discuss with
the owners of this data the possibility of making the data available
to particular ATCost users. Also, data on a clientís own previous
projects may be collected, analysed and included in the database.