Provides a linkage between process improvement projects and bottom-line impact on the organization, which is often a necessary component in obtaining full support from management and other project stakeholders. This tool is sometimes referred to as a COPQ (Cost of Poor Quality) analysis.

Answers the questions:
  • For a proposed project, what are the expected financial benefits?
  • For a proposed project, what is the timeframe for realizing the expected financial benefits?
  • Once a process has a baseline, what are the updated benefits and timeline expectations?
  • For a completed project, what are the actual financial benefits, and the actual timeframe for realizing those benefits?
When to Use Purpose
Pre-project Assist in project identification by providing initial estimates of cost savings and timelines for potential projects. This tool is often used as an input in the Project Prioritization Matrix.
Start of project Prepare initial estimates, or, if initial estimates have been made earlier, modify as needed to reflect new information.
Mid-project Update initial estimates of expected benefits once a process performance baseline and improvement goals have been determined.
End of project Update the financial analysis tool to show actual financial benefits (amounts and timelines) after the improvements have been implemented.


No data requirements exist because you only use this tool to collect and organize data.


  1. This is a team tool. Include process experts and finance representatives on the team whenever possible.
  2. Determine the savings categories the project will impact using company guidelines (for example, labor, materials, inventory). These items are used to determine the gross savings for the project.
  3. Determine the cost categories for implementing the project. These categories are used to estimate the cost of executing the project and calculating the net savings.
  4. Estimate (before project completion) or determine (after project completion) the benefit in each category.
  5. Record the financial data.
  6. Finance representatives should validate all benefit amounts and sign off on the analysis.


  • Most organizations have specific guidelines for evaluating project savings (hard versus soft savings, timelines for reporting, amortization of implementation costs, accounting for overhead burden, and so on). Be sure to follow these guidelines.
  • If a proposed project is deemed critical, but has little or no hard savings, be prepared to justify going forward with the project. Many organizations set lower limits on the amount of hard savings for these projects (for example, $100,000).
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