There is a great deal of truth in the aphorism, ‘An engineer is a man who can do for one dollar what any fool can do for two’, and no designer should be ashamed that the reduction of cost is the chief test of his skill. However, the cost in question must be the true or total costs for the same benefit, not just the purchase price, and must include running costs, maintenance, the costs of unreliability and so on. The means of making such costs commensurate are not part of design, but one important aspect has been covered in Section 3.2. The benefit is also difficult to assess in some cases, particularly in consumer goods, where it is hard to judge such things as the money value to the customer of a sunshine roof in a car.
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