Hit your cost down targets on time – for the first time.

CoLab gives you a platform to bring your whole team into a VA/VE event, so anyone can access drawings, files and 3D models. Meaning you get more ideas from more team members faster than ever before.

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How it works

Bring idea generation from in-person to online

CoLab is a browser-based platform where anyone on your team can access a VA/VE review package with 3D CAD models and 2D files. Before, you had to get everyone in one room to run a cost down event. With CoLab, you have an easy way to host virtual or hybrid events. So, you can spend less money on travel and more time generating quality ideas

1 app > 5 disconnected workflows

Most teams do design-to-cost in some combination of: meetings, PowerPoint decks, spreadsheets, email, project management software and/or sticky notes. And because none of these “systems” talk to each other, you end up with a lot of disconnected ideas and very little context.

Teams who use CoLab pin design-to-cost feedback directly on 3D models, so any team member can understand the “Why” behind the idea and respond in real-time. Now, you can connect ideas to the model, respond to feedback and track the entire design-to-cost project in a single platform.

Execute the cost reduction ideas that matter

It’s not that your team doesn’t have great ideas for reducing costs or improving a product’s value. It’s that prioritizing and executing those ideas is a bottleneck.

Engineering teams who use CoLab generate ideas in the context of the model, then prioritize the highest value ideas across the entire VA/VE event. Within the event, a participant can:

  • Leave VA/VE ideas on the 3D model
  • Tag ideas by function and prioritize that idea by impact
  • Sort all feedback by potential impact and functional tags

This means less follow-up, less post-event prioritization and faster execution on the cost reduction ideas that matter.


You don’t need yet another disconnected software solution. That's why CoLab does two things: 

  • It integrates with your CAD and PLM software to create a connected tech ecosystem.
  • It replaces the 5-10 apps you use to complete a single process workflow with 1-2 apps (CoLab + PLM, for example)

CoLab supports more than 70 file types, including native and neutral CAD and integrates with many PLM/PDM systems. 

Aside from engineering system integrations, CoLab also integrates with Jira and supports security protocols, like SSO, user permissions and more.

Case studies

Engineering teams use CoLab to run VA/VE events nearly every day. Here are a few who want to share their experiences with you:

Johnson Controls used CoLab to switch from in-person to virtual VA/VE events. Now, even with ambitious targets and rising external pressures, the JCI team has used CoLab to consistently hit their cost down numbers. “Adding additional people has really expanded our collection of ideas,” remarks Brian Stauffer, Global Product Design Manager. “We can have people included in the events now who typically wouldn’t have been able to be there before. So we’re getting more ideas, coming from a broader group of people and a more cross-functional team.”

Mainspring transformed how they conduct design reviews and execute ideas. As a result, their sustaining engineering team redesigned a key component, achieving a 50% cost reduction in half the time, while releasing 300 drawings to suppliers with no defects.

Virtual VA/VE Events

“Adding additional people has really expanded our collection of ideas. We can have people included in the events now who typically wouldn’t have been able to be there before. So we’re getting more ideas, coming from a broader group of people and a more cross-functional team."

Kevin walters
Brian Stauffer
Global Product Design Manager
Read the Story
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FAQs about using CoLab for VA/VE

I believe we can generate more ideas using CoLab, but does that actually mean more savings?

We do cost savings all the time but our group has a hard time tracking how ideas lead to results and then quantifying that result. Can CoLab help us do that?

Is CoLab for teams that are new to VA/VE? Or do you also work with mature VA/VE programs?

We don’t do cost down today because, frankly, it takes time and we’re swamped -- is this going to be easy enough that we actually do it?

How does CoLab fit into today’s process? Will it totally replace today’s spreadsheet or PowerPoint?

How does this fit into our ECR/ECO process?

We do a business case before implementing an idea. Does CoLab support that?

We have plenty of ideas, our challenge is getting them to cost realization on time. How does CoLab reduce that time?

Sometimes you need to be in person to hold a product. Is the quality of a virtual VA/VE event going to be as good as in person?

Better products start with better design conversations.

If you’re ready to see how CoLab can transform the way you work with suppliers, here’s how the process works.

  • Every conversation starts with a discovery call. During this call, a technical expert will understand your team’s challenges with design review today
  • Then, we’ll tailor a demo to address those challenges. This demo includes you, of course, but also some key members from your team who can speak to your challenges in greater detail and vet CoLab as the solution.
  • Finally, we do a workshop with more members of your team. This is the fun part! During this workshop, your team will each have temporary CoLab licenses and participate in a sample design review. You and your team will be guided through key features and use cases right inside the CoLab platform.
Schedule a talk with a CoLab product expert.