Value Engineering – The Double Edge Sword

Every project, at some point, will include some Value Engineering to remain in budget. Even those with the largest budgets find that some reductions must be made. When forced to cut budgets we know we’ll have to cut something in the original scope and something will need to change. The key to successful Value Engineering is ensuring we don’t cut into the primary purpose of the project and why we were doing it in the first place. We know that some things cannot be compromised, and the goal is to retain the Value in the process while we Engineer some changes.

A mistake made by many is to not fully evaluate the proposed changes. There are many examples by which the decisions were short sighted only later to find out it will cost more to fix it later. In any system we can safely say that the quality of the system is no better than its weakest link. In a Broadcast or AV system if you evaluate the critical path from the source to the final destination, you’ll want to ensure the integrity and quality is maintained throughout the entire chain. So how do we decide what must change and what to keep?

A very simplified approach can be:

  1. Verify all your critical path equipment meets the desired specifications.
  2. Consider non-essential features of the critical path components. Do I really need them? How may that impact my workflow if I don’t have them?
  3. Consider non-critical path components. Confidence monitors don’t need to be the same quality as your critical evaluation monitors.
  4. Change the specifications – I want a 4K studio, but I have no 4K distribution right now or in the foreseeable future. Will HD do?
  5. Change Quantities – I want 4 cameras, but I can get by with 3. Design for more as plug and play. Buy one in the future or rent one that matches for the few times you need 4. Helps you decide on which cameras to choose if they are on the rental market. If I change the workflow, can I consolidate equipment?


With any equipment decision these factors should be kept in mind:

  • Manufacturer’s reputation
  • History of the product in the market place
  • Technology used by the product
  • Compatibility with other products in the system, enables better work flow
  • Customer familiarization with the equipment or similar equipment
  • Product availability
  • Bundle equipment of the same manufacture that may lead to an overall savings
  • Manufacturer support – what if it breaks or has some problems, is the warranty still good if I buy it off a web site?

While budget is always a consideration, the lowest cost is not always the best Value.

The single most important question you should have when selecting either a different item of equipment or a change in workflow is…..”what am I NOT getting that I had before”? Did you review ALL the specifications and requirements? Don’t let your choice cut in the wrong direction. If you are OK with those answers, then your choice is an informed one and you can feel confident it will work for you.