14 Ways to Drive Up the Cost of Your Test System without Adding Value

You hear so much these days about driving down costs for test systems, especially when it comes to efficiency improvements in the design process. So-called experts are constantly trying to advise you to “do this, not that” when designing your test system, always considering how to boost performance with the lowest possible expense. But what if you’re not that concerned with your bottom line? What if the sky was the limit and you wanted to really see how far you could push your budget?

We at Genuen felt it was our duty to leverage our years of experience to paint a picture of how you could effectively triple (perhaps even quadruple) the cost of your test system (without adding any value) with just a few simple tips and tricks. After all, we’ve seen it work in real life and have learned from decades of interactions. Enjoy these best practices for driving up the cost of your test system.

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During the Design Process

1. Jump right in!

The early bird gets the worm and sitting around brainstorming or pushing paper is simply a waste of your momentum. No need to vet out all the concrete details or contingences of your test system. You’ll cross those bridges when you get there. Instead, build a general test system that could possibly do all sorts of things, so you’re bound to have all your bases covered.

2. Design by consensus, knowing that teamwork makes the dream work!

Don’t bother with a project manager or a single point of contact for your integrators. Instead, gather a large team of stakeholders and ensure that every meeting includes everyone, with everyone having equal say and no real hierarchy for feedback or decision making. Don’t waste time with internal alignment; instead, simply ensure that the entire team has access at ALL times to your integrators at ALL points in the design process. You don’t want one single thought or piece of feedback from anyone to escape inclusion.

3. Make sure you over-design and add in as many bells and whistles as possible.

Is there an emerging technology you’ve been eying? Throw that bad boy into the mix, even if it’s not necessarily “needed” for success of your system. Better to have it included, just in case.

4. Embrace scope creep.

If someone asks for something later in the game, don’t stifle them by implementing any sort of change management. Instead, give them what they want and be sure you’re continuing to add things as the ideas bubble up during the design process, even to the end.

5. See how many variables you can pack into the smallest number of regulations.

Don’t nit-pick with a bunch of simple steps; instead, create a masterpiece of complex, complicated methods to meet regulatory requirements. Build yourself a web of tests and you’re sure to achieve harmony within your system (eventually).

6. Simplicity is for the faint of heart; push yourself to make the most complex system you can dream up!

The more moving parts the better when it comes to mechanical design. And don’t worry about how easy or difficult it is to access various components within the system for test or maintenance. That challenge makes it more fun!

7. Don’t waste your time writing software until you’re nearing the end of the application.

In fact, wait until debug to do the testing so that you can ensure your software is complete. Additionally, there’s really no need to include manual interfaces in your software. If you code it well enough, you won’t even need to debug it!

8. Documentation is just red tape and should be avoided at all costs.

Don’t waste your time documenting as you go. Also, toss out your reuse libraries as well, since they stifle creativity. It’s best to start from scratch each time to ensure a fresh outlook on things. Who says you can’t build a better wheel?

Working with an Integrator

9. Always go with the lowest bid you receive from potential partners.

Experience really doesn’t make that much of a difference in these types of processes. Also, the integrators that ask the fewest questions about your goals and requirements clearly have a better understanding of your project and will be most successful in meeting your goals!

10. While you’re at it, don’t worry about offering detailed budget constraints.

Instead, see what they can offer you with as little direction as possible. However, be sure you do include a boiler plate RFQ template that has tons of items in it (even things that you never really use) such as lots of documentation and extra design reviews that aren’t necessary. The more stuff you put in your RFQ, the better your design process will be.

11. Managers: save money and look good to finance by doing as much as you can in-house!

Why go to people who are ‘experts’ when you have plenty of smart engineers onsite who could do it themselves? Maybe they’ve never designed a test stand themselves, but how hard can it be? You have plenty of your own smart engineers and your labor is free.

12. Bring integrators into the process as late in the game as possible.

Give them tons of direction and don’t stress them out with trying to figure out their own solution. Instead, tell them exactly how you want it to be done, not what you are looking for. This helps prevent the integrators from innovating on your already genius ideas.

13. Keep any problems you’ve experienced along the way to yourself, and don’t bother your integrator with any issues you’ve already discovered.

When they run into these problems for themselves – even if they’ve almost completed their system design and they haven’t mentioned the issue yet – they will still appreciate that you’ve let them learn on their own. It’s more meaningful that way.

14.  In the same way, don’t worry about wasting too much of your time ensuring your integrator truly understands your product.

They don’t really need to know all those details and intricacies. Instead, see how much they can learn on the fly based on your website or general conversations.

Don’t listen to us—we’re just integrators!

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to drive up the cost of your test system without even trying! With a few simple steps, you can ensure your budget inflates without adding any real value or efficiencies to your test system.

If, however, you’re reading this, realizing that it is April Fool’s Day, and are still convinced that the lower-cost, more efficient route is the way your company needs to go, we’re happy to help you achieve your goals! In fact, we’ve spent the last three decades providing products and services that span the entire development lifecycle, to solve complex problems, provide innovative solutions, and deliver reliable results.

Check out our white paper, "How to Develop a Test System without a Requirement Document"… or contact one of our team members today!

Happy April Fool’s Day!

About Genuen

Our goal is to improve time to market without compromising product quality or safety standards. With experience in mission-critical applications and regulatory compliance, Genuen creates custom test systems across the product lifecycle, including hardware-in-the-loop (HIL), fluid power test, and electromechanical test. Headquartered near Kansas City, we have offices across the United States and serve clients in aerospace, transportation, national security, and beyond. The company's Quality Management System (QMS) is certified to ISO 9001.