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General questions

Since 2008, 4cost GmbH, based in Berlin, has been offering innovative solutions in the field of software-supported price and cost calculation, especially for the industrial and procurement sector.

We enable our customers to develop and manufacture their products with optimised costs by making complex projects transparent and comprehensible in terms of costs.

With the knowledge gained from over 2,500 successful projects, we develop the global costing standard.

4cost offers a comprehensive product portfolio for cost optimisation par excellence.

Our in-house developed costing software suite provides the right costing tool for every project phase and initial situation. With 4cost software you can calculate development costs, production costs, usage costs, maintenance costs, overheads, lifecycle costs, CO2 footprint including logistics costs and much more.

The innovative approach of 4cost enables high cost savings, is up to 80 % faster than conventional methods and can be used in all project phases regardless of the industry. For maximum cost transparency throughout the entire product life cycle.

4cost’s solutions are complemented by an integrated range of services in the areas of value engineering, should costing, product training and support.

As an independent company based in Berlin, all our solutions are 100% Made in Germany.

Due to the underlying innovative approach, the costing software and costing services are suitable for all sectors of industry as well as for the procurement of corresponding goods. These include, among others:

  • Mechanical and plant engineering
  • Automotive industry
  • Defence industry
  • Aerospace
  • High-tech and electronics
  • Medical technology

Our costing solutions are suitable for mechanical, electronic and mechatronic components, assemblies and complete systems as well as for determining software development costs.

The software and service solutions from 4cost offer numerous advantages:

  • Very high time savings in the creation of price and cost calculations as well as quotations
  • Standardised calculations that ensure comparability and traceability
  • Fast simulations and analyses of a wide range of product variants and scenarios
  • Automated reports and cockpits for reliable, accelerated decision-making
  • Precise identification of cost drivers and potential savings
  • Early evaluation of the profitability of products and projects
  • Support for make-or-buy decisions
  • Costing template for bid or no-bid decisions
  • Common, cross-departmental understanding of costs
  • Minimisation of error sources through intelligent input assistants and automatic check routines
  • Flexible licensing model and customisable modular structure
  • All 4cost software applications are also available as Web Edition for use directly in the web browser

All departments in the company that deal with product and project costs benefit from the use of 4cost solutions.

For management, 4cost delivers exactly the cost information needed for decision-making as early as possible and with minimal effort. The 4cost solutions enable management to:

  • assess the economic efficiency of products and projects at an early stage,
  • quickly identify growth opportunities,
  • minimise financial risks
  • and gain a secure basis for business cases, bid/no-bid and make-or-buy decisions, among others.

In cost and value engineering, 4cost uncovers cost optimisation potential at an early stage and thus lays the foundations for the production of profitable products. The solutions from 4cost enable value engineering:

  • the creation of valid cost estimates already in the early phase on the basis of little information (e.g. concepts or specifications),
  • the mapping of any detailed cost structures,
  • the identification of cost drivers
  • and the analysis of costs across all phases of the product life cycle.

In the purchasing department, 4cost enables maximum transparency with regard to the offer and price structure of suppliers/service providers. 4cost’s solutions offer purchasing:

  • a secure basis for negotiation for the targeted reduction of purchase prices,
  • extensive possibilities for simulating and evaluating a wide range of procurement scenarios,
  • target and target cost specifications already in the enquiry situation
  • and tools for validating and optimising purchasing strategies.

In development and construction, 4cost ensures a development- and construction-accompanying calculation for cost optimisation already during the design, construction or offer phase. The 4cost solutions enable development and design:

  • the fast and standardised translation of product specifications into specific costs,
  • a deep understanding of the impact of product design on cost development already at an early stage (design-to-cost, design for manufacturing, design for assembly)
  • and the development of products with high utility value and increased profitability.

With 4cost, the sales department secures decisive competitive advantages by creating and adjusting quotation calculations much faster than with conventional methods. 4cost’s solutions in sales enable:

  • the creation of consistent, well-founded offers with plausible prices,
  • early bid/no-bid decisions with minimal effort,
  • the central provision of all necessary cost information
  • and transparent documentation of change requests.

You can find an overview of our references on the page “Client testimonials and success stories”. There, our international customers report on their successes with 4cost.

4cost has a large partner network of experienced value analysts and technology specialists in the fields of development, design, production, project management, software programming, assembly, testing and integration in the D-A-CH region. You can find an overview of our partners on the “Clients and partners” page.

Questions regarding the 4cost-suite (software suite for price and cost calculations)

The 4cost-suite is a collection of innovative costing software applications. 4cost provides you with the right calculation tool for every point in time and every initial situation. From parametric top-down calculations for early phases with little information to detailed bottom-up calculations – also directly on the CAD model – to multi-dimensional cost forecasts and overhead cost analyses within seconds.

Yes, each 4cost application can be purchased and used individually. Depending on your needs and area of application, the software modules can be combined in different ways.

The 4cost-suite is available in German and English.

No, for the use of the 4cost costing software a fee-based training is necessary. Within this training, the products can be tested on a customer-specific basis.

In principle, every company size benefits from the use of 4cost costing software. Especially smaller companies achieve positive effects very quickly by using our solutions.

Major function updates of the 4cost-suite are usually rolled out twice a year. Bug fix updates are provided as needed.

A maintenance contract is offered, but is optional.

With the 4cost Web Edition, all applications of the 4cost-suite can also be used conveniently in the web browser. A local installation is not necessary in this case. The 4cost Web Edition offers all the advantages of the classic desktop version, but with more flexibility and added convenience.

The 4cost-suite offers options for exchanging data with common PDM/ERP systems as well as spreadsheet programs, such as Microsoft Excel, that support the CSV and XML formats.

The implementation in the company depends on various factors (number of users, use of modules, cross-site use, intensity of use, etc.). We would be happy to advise you in detail.

In small deployment environments, 4cost’s costing software can be used immediately after a standard installation. In more complex environments, implementation may take a few days.

The basics of the different software modules are taught in individual training sessions and enable the participants to operate the 4cost software independently. The scope of the training depends on the respective application and comprises between two and four days. In addition to the basic training courses, advanced training courses are also offered, which can be completed after a few weeks of operation.

Trained users can independently apply the 4cost costing software. Additional staff is not required.

No, the 4cost-suite complements existing applications in a meaningful way and can interact with them.

The project files are stored in a separate XML-based format. Excel, CSV, XML and TXT formats are supported for imports and exports. The integrated CAD viewers support the STEP format.

Clients can download the current version of 4cost-suite after registering in the 4cost client portal.

The authorisations are assigned via licence keys and via administrative settings by the administrator on the client side.

In addition to single-user licences for small companies that are linked to specific end devices, we also support floating licence models (with and without central data and licence management) for large companies across many locations.

With the 4cost-suite, 4cost provides extensive, up-to-date, country-specific costing data for materials, machinery and personnel.

4cost researches some of the calculation-relevant data itself. The remaining data is provided by the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden.

All databases can be adapted and expanded with company-specific data.

Currently, the databases are updated every six months. A quarterly update is planned.

4cost offers newcomers and experienced users a comprehensive range of training courses for each of the 4cost software applications. In a practice-oriented manner, we provide you with all the competences and skills you need to successfully use the 4cost applications in your company. Both online and on-site.

Big data analyses are used in the optimisation and further development of the cost estimating relationships (CERs) for 4cost-aces, the automatic checking of modelling and the extensive reports. Learning AI technologies are not yet in use, but are planned for future releases.

Questions regarding 4cost-aces

4cost-aces is a software for creating parametric cost estimates. The programme enables valid calculations right from the earliest phase. With the help of the innovative parametric approach, valid, reliable calculations are already possible with just 5 parameters – regardless of the technology to be analysed.

4cost-aces is suitable for the following areas of application, among others:

  • Development-accompanying calculation, design-to-cost
  • Development costs, prototype costs
  • Manufacturing costs, production costs
  • Software development costs
  • Lifecycle costs (LCC), Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
  • Value analysis, quotation costing
  • Target costing
  • Should costing, purchase price analysis
  • Greenfield, Brownfield

Parametrics is a scientifically based method that derives costs from technical descriptions of a product or project. The basis for calculation are so-called cost estimation relationships (CERs), i.e. functional relationships between a parameter and a cost or time value.

Examples of cost-determining parameters are:

  • Size (weight, quantity)
  • Quality (operational area, process volume, complexity)
  • Economy (start of production, country of production, inflation)

The parametric model of 4cost is based on more than 1.1 million data sets from all industries and technologies, which have been continuously expanded since 1992. The CERs of these data sets were transferred by us into a worldwide unique universal mathematical cost model, which is applied in 4cost-aces.

The universal mathematical cost model of 4cost-aces is ideally suited for the cost estimation of technological innovations. The same parameters are used here as in the cost analysis of existing technologies.

Questions regarding 4cost-structure

4cost-structure is a software for creating standardised bottom-up calculations with any level of detail. The programme enables the construction of detailed product and cost structures as well as the creation of entire work systems.

4cost-structure is suitable for the following areas of application, among others:

  • Multi-level overhead costing
  • Preliminary costing, post calculation
  • Quotation costing
  • Costing during development, design-to-cost
  • Should costing, purchase part price analysis
  • Target costing
  • Value analysis

Questions regarding 4cost-prediction

4cost-prediction is a software for creating multidimensional regression analyses for statistical cost forecasts. The programme makes it possible to check the appropriateness of the costs and prices of products and product groups using freely selectable parameters. With the software, you can easily and quickly see which specific features of a product affect its costs and price and to what extent.

The target/actual comparison with 4cost-prediction enables a quick analysis of outliers. Text sequences can also be interpreted as parameters by the innovative algorithm.

4cost-prediction is suitable for the following application areas, among others:

  • Linear Performance Pricing
  • Non-linear performance pricing
  • Predictive Costing
  • Should costing, purchase part price analysis
  • Benchmarking
  • Supplier and purchase price analysis, price structure analysis
  • Target costing
  • Target/actual comparisons

Multidimensional regression analysis is a statistical procedure used to calculate a dependent variable through several independent variables. The correlations can also be non-linear. The multidimensional regression analysis makes it possible to relate many parameters and their influence on costs or other technical parameters.

In principle, all technically relevant parameters can be used in a regression analysis. 4cost-prediction includes not only numerical values but also alphanumerical values in the analysis.

Questions regarding 4cost-cadcal

4cost-cadcal is a software for creating CAD-supported product cost calculations. The programme combines the high performance of a standardised costing tool with the visualisation options of a CAD application.

4cost-cadcal is suitable for the following areas of application, among others:

  • Development-accompanying calculation
  • Design-to-cost
  • Design-accompanying calculation
  • Design for manufacturability
  • Work planning and preparation
  • Design for assembly
  • Value analysis

Currently, 4cost-cadcal can process the STEP and STP formats.

Yes, it is also possible to load and edit assemblies in 4cost-cadcal.

Questions regarding 4cost-scenarioanalyser

4cost-scenarioanalyser is a software for rapidly determining the overhead costs of suppliers and service providers. The programme has a parametric approach that is unique in the world and enables calculation using a small amount of generally accessible company data.

4cost-scenarioanalyser is suitable for the following application areas, among others:

  • Parametric overhead cost analysis
  • Cost centre accounting
  • Break-even analysis
  • Application scenarios

4cost-scenarioanalyser determines the overhead rates for material, development, administration and sales plus risk and profit.

Questions regarding 4cost-datacenter

4cost-datacenter is a server-side software for central, company-wide administration of 4cost licences, installations, user rights, costing information, databases and file versions.

Questions regarding our services

Yes, 4cost’s value engineering uncovers maximum savings potential in product costs at an early stage with the help of standardised value analyses, cost-down and should costing. Our innovative software solutions are used here – for consistent cost calculations and maximum cost control from the start of the project.

Yes, 4cost provides you with experienced value analysts and technology specialists from the areas of development, design, production, project management, software programming, assembly, testing and integration as required. Working with our cross-functional team of experts enables a neutral view of your projects, so that previously undiscovered potential is made visible and opportunities for increasing innovation are revealed.

Our competent support team supports you Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with all questions regarding the 4cost costing software – in German and English. You can find ways to contact us on the “Support” page.

A workshop with 4cost means close project-related cooperation between our value engineers and your experts. Depending on your requirements, in person on site at your company or online.

First of all, the tasks and objectives of the workshop are clearly defined. Our value engineers review the project-relevant information provided by you and create a schedule based on this. To ensure that the workshop runs as efficiently as possible, we list all additional information required as part of a kick-off meeting. Additionally, we jointly determine which client-side experts should be available for the workshop. This provides you with sufficient advance notice to ensure the presence of the required persons on the respective days.

Depending on the scope of the work order, a workshop is spread over several days, during which we work on the task with different groups of experts from your company, validate data and transfer it into our parametric calculation model.

Once our calculations and analyses are complete, we present the results of the workshop to you and all those involved and discuss them in detail. Using gap analyses, we determine the differences between the previous calculation or cost estimate and derive recommendations for action.

Finally, we prepare a professional report according to your company-specific requirements with all relevant results and recommendations for action, which you can make available to your management and other responsible parties. The report is designed in such a way that it is also comprehensible to people who were not involved in the workshop. To ensure maximum transparency and a secure decision-making process.

The size of the team provided by 4cost depends on the scope of the project and the specific requirements. As a rule, however, workshops usually are conducted by two value engineers.

If requested by the client, 4cost can also provide assistance in the areas of performance optimisation and product improvement.

Yes, the experts at 4cost provide you with the necessary arguments to lower your purchase prices and are happy to support you personally in negotiations.

Depending on your personal level of knowledge, we offer different product training formats.

In the basic training, first-time users receive an introduction to the basic functionality of the respective 4cost software modules. First, we familiarise you with the user interface of the costing application and show you how to create projects and set up cost structures. Afterwards, we provide you with practical examples of all the necessary knowledge about the various application and modelling options the software offers you.

The advanced training courses are aimed at users who already have experience in using the 4cost software and would like to consolidate and deepen the knowledge they have acquired up to this point. In this training format, special topics are examined and trained. In addition, you will have the opportunity to bring in examples from your own working environment and work through them.

At regular intervals, we familiarise our existing customers with the latest functions of our calculation software within the framework of release training courses and explain to them how to use it in practice.

Our administrator training courses enable your specialists to carry out administrative tasks such as data maintenance, configuration or customer-specific settings.

Talk to our cost calculation experts

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