• Newsletter Halving the Cost, not the Experience


Monthly Tonic - Issue 09

Businesses should take a holistic approach to value engineering, examining every part of the retail ecosystem to maximise their investment and ensure nothing gets lost in translation.

Hi there,

There is understandably a great deal of comment surrounding the ever-changing nature of physical retail right now. It’s definitely a topic the team in the studio spend a lot of time discussing. But alongside this excitement, we continue to work hard on the day to day basics of retail design.

Recently we have been discussing value engineering and how we get the most out of these exercises for our clients. So often viewed as the domain of the procurement department, a thorough and impactful value engineering process should be something that all departments get involved in. Below are a few references that illustrate the breadth of this topic and support the discussions we have been having.

Where is the Value?
This definition of value engineering raises an important point. Cost savings should not come at the expense of functionality. Similarly, in the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ guidance, it is highlighted that one of the fundamental challenges in value engineering is to understand the range of impacts that a decision may have. It is not just about the financial implications, but also how decisions impact manufacture, install and use.

Understanding the World (of Materials)
When value engineering retail formats, much of the focus revolves around the finishes used throughout the design. It’s therefore crucial for design teams to have an in depth understanding of materials, their properties and the associated costs. Tools like this online materials search platform from the German firm Matmatch provide amazing sources of data to help understand the intrinsic qualities of materials.

Teams also need to be aware of the broader global issues that can impact material and manufacturing costs. This recent article in the India Times highlights how unexpected global shortages in raw materials can have a huge impact on your business’ costs. Similarly, this Bloomberg article indicates the low prices we have come to expect from manufacturing in China are no longer a certainty.

This recent article in the New York Times, which reports on the current global shipping chaos and the rising cost of shipping, reminds us that reducing costs by manufacturing abroad doesn’t always play out in the most efficient and stress-free way.

McKinsey & Company's article about 'cleansheeting' recognises that, alongside establishing the most cost-effective design of a product or service, there is now the added need for teams to meet sustainability objectives. Trying to marry these two often conflicting ambitions together, demands that designers and engineers have a deep and granular understanding of both requirements.

With this in mind, our friends at Quantum 4 use their Quantum Zero methodology to inspect retail fixture designs to understand and improve their environmental impact alongside engineering the most cost-effective solution. I hope you find this helpful. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss further.

Kind regards

In Quinine's ‘Monthly Tonic' newsletter, we share the key articles,reports and research studies that are driving the conversations we are having here in the studio. Each newsletter is based around a single theme that extends beyond retail to explore broader social and cultural influences shaping the changing world around us. We share a range of insights, perspectives and points of view that are positively impacting the direction we are heading and the discussions we are having with our clients. The following newsletter was shared with all our friends, clients and Quinine community members. If you would like to receive our next issue, please sign up here!

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