Home >> Research Programs >> Energy and Environment >> Environmental Resource Management >> Systems Engineering

Value Engineering

Value Engineering (VE)(also called value analysis, value management, or value methodology) is a systematic process used by a multidisciplinary team directed at analyzing the functions of a project, product, process, system, design, or service (hereafter referred to as project) for the purpose of achieving the essential functions at the lowest life cycle cost consistent with required performance, reliability, availability, quality, and safety.

  • Benefits of Using VE - VE is a powerful problem-solving tool that can reduce costs while maintaining or improving performance and quality. The multidisciplinary team approach results in better understanding of the project through improved communications, schedule acceleration, risk identification and mitigation, and complete documentation of the decision making process. VE can solve problems, improve quality, lower costs, assure compliance, improve efficiency, build teamwork, reduce risks, and identify requirements.

Projects that use VE in the early development or conceptual stages are generally more successful due to increased communication on the team and a common understanding of the objectives, deliverables, and requirements. At this point, major design and development resources have not yet been committed and the manner in which the basic function of the project is performed has not been established, so alternative ways may be identified and considered. A VE study is more rigorous than the typical project review and is viewed as a systematic and creative approach for increasing the "return on investment" (ROI) in components, systems, facilities, and other products. VE studies have been effective in identifying and analyzing facility locations, process operations, business systems, etc.

  • How VE Works
    • Systematic Process - Value Engineering is unique in that it uses a systematic process that incorporates multidisciplinary teams, VE certified facilitators, problem solving tools and techniques, a formal job plan, and Function Analysis. The heart of VE is Function Analysis, it is the key activity that differentiates VE from othe problem-solving or improvement practices.
    • Job Plan - The VE Job Plan provides the structure for the VE study and consists of the following phases:
      • Phase I: Preparation / Planning - Plan, organize, and establish the objective for the VE study.
      • Phase II: Information Gathering - Understand the current state of the project and constraints / requirements.
      • Phase III: Function Analysis - Understand the project from a functional perspective; what must the project do, rather than how the project is currently conceived.
      • Phase IV: Creativity - Generate a quantity of ideas related to other ways to perform the functions.
      • Phase V: Evaluation - Reduce the quantity of ideas that have been identified to a short list of ideas with the greatest potential to improve the project and meet the VE study objective.
      • Phase VI: Development - Further analyze and develop the short list of ideas and develop those with merit into value alternatives.
      • Phase VII: Presentation / Implementation Planning - Present value alternatives to management team and other project stakeholders or decision makers.
    • Function Analysis - A function describes what something does and function analysis is the process where the team reviews the project's functions to determine those that could be improved. Function Analysis can be enhanced through the use of a graphical mapping tool known as the Function Analysis System Technique (FAST). FAST applies intuitive logic to test functions, create a common language for a team, and test the validity of the functions in the project.
    • Best Business Practice - VE should be performed as early as possible to maximize results, improve team communication, and develop a common understanding of the objectives, deliverables, and requirements. Applied with flexibility and creativity, VE is almost unlimited in its ability to identify areas of potential savings. A VE study is a rigorous systematic and creative approach for increasing the return on investment for the project.
    • Applicability - An important aspect of VE lies in its ability to respond with timeliness, flexibility, and creativity. It can be used for new or existing programs, all phases of a project, and for organizational processes. VE can be used to improve quality, lower costs, assure compliance, improve efficiency, build teamwork, reduce risks, and identify requirements.

Value Engineering Fact Sheet

Contact Information:
  • Lori Braase, Project and Team Integration
    (208) 526-7763 lori.braase@inl.gov
Department of energy

DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
DOE-Idaho Office