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Unread 10-05-2018, 05:22 PM
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Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

Itís going to be no end of hysterical to me that after all my comments, pestering, begging, pleading, dictionary jokes and shenanigans with our CAW, that it ends up being idiotic trade policy that forces HQ to address the CAW. Not that I expect anyone to admit to it. You can just send me a winky face.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 09:20 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (Discussion and Proposals)

I broke this off from the Tariff thread as this is more about the faults of the current CAW and the opinions Marshall and many others including myself have about the CAW.

Note that Marshall did not name this thread, I named the thread.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 09:29 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (Discussion and Proposals)

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Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
I broke this off from the Tariff thread as this is more about the faults of the current CAW and the opinions Marshall and many others including myself have about the CAW.

Note that Marshall did not name this thread, I named the thread.
Our robot had a ~$2000 discrepancy between its COST and itís CAWST this past year. The CAWST came out to be around $3000.

Anyone know if Enron is looking for accounting interns?
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Unread 10-08-2018, 10:00 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

What if we got rid of the whole "KOP prices don't count" baloney and simply called it a Bill of Material, with labor excluded? Then increase the allowed cost of a robot to a more reasonable amount?

I mean, we wouldn't be allowed to talk about it in airports and all, but I don't see that as a really important factor here.

Every company I have ever worked with or for calls it a BOM.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 10:09 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

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Originally Posted by Tom Line View Post
What if we got rid of the whole "KOP prices don't count" baloney and simply called it a Bill of Material, with labor excluded? Then increase the allowed cost of a robot to a more reasonable amount?

I mean, we wouldn't be allowed to talk about it in airports and all, but I don't see that as a really important factor here.

Every company I have ever worked with or for calls it a BOM.
This.

We effectively did a BOM our first few years because we exempted nothing and were right at the $4,000 mark when I did this in 2017. After researching and spending hours finding exemptions, those of us who worked on the CAW last year were able to report about 1.6k instead of the 3.5k BOM amount. I think FIRST should just use a BOM and raise the max to about 6 or 7k, whatever they find keeps the true costs similar to previous years, which would impose effectively the same money limits but would benefit smaller and newer teams who could be spending more time testing and improving instead of figuring out how to make a CAW.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 10:14 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

The way I see it, the argument against the CAW is that it does a terrible job of limiting expenditure because there's so many things excluded, many loopholes, and it's an honor system anyway. This is ostensibly the point of the CAW, but I've also seen arguments that it has a second purpose which is just to enforce a little bit of accountability and make sure the team is cognizant of cost.

I think before any changes should be made, whoever is in charge of deciding these things (which is almost certainly not Marshall) needs to decide an identity for the CAW. What is its purpose? Is it to limit expenditure, to even the playing field in a way? Or is it just a token piece of documentation "you need to do it in the real world, and we want you to make sure you're following the bare minimum of bureaucracy?"

In my opinion, the former is a fruitless pursuit. Even if you can reasonably limit the price of the robot to under $5000 or some other magic figure, teams with large budgets can do so much more anyway (practice fields, more events, second and third robots, etc) that the sticker price of the robot is an entire nonissue. Not to mention the philosophical arguments about leveling the playing field in general.

The latter is a better idea in my opinion, but the CAW needs some reforms to make this better. Put everything on there (within reason, $5 minimum is still good), and remove the total price limit.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 10:15 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

I am not too familiar with the background and the evolution of the CAW over the years. It was clearly established to have a relatively even playing-field in terms of robot cost, but when were KOP and FIRST Choice items excluded, and why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Line View Post
What if we got rid of the whole "KOP prices don't count" baloney and simply called it a Bill of Material, with labor excluded? Then increase the allowed cost of a robot to a more reasonable amount?
This seems like the most reasonable avenue. Besides being larger, it would even be easier for inspectors to keep up with because everything they see on the robot should be somewhere in the BOM.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 10:23 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

Just to add noise into the discussion...

80% of inspectors, at least, are not qualified to match items on a CAW/BOM to the robot and other than them scanning for the few things they recognize OR checking for items above the price limit, it's not useful to them as part of the inspection process.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 10:24 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (Discussion and Proposals)

I really wish the CAW was a proper BOM. It's honestly easier to do, and would be more helpful to both the team and the inspector. I would keep the minor materials rule, though as counting bolts and zip-ties is quite tedious, if maximally realistic to actual engineering practice.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 10:26 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

I think it might also work to just reinforce the maximum COTS item cost limit and remove the CAW total altogether. I think the bigger problem is if a team decides to mount a FANUC arm to their robot than if a team uses too many hollow rectangles of sheet metal.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 10:54 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

Making it a true BOM and not having KOP, etc. exemptions and allowing the total cost to be higher is not something I ever expect FIRST to do.

Having it at $4000 sounds much more appealing to potential new teams then the true cost of an FRC robot (not to mention 2 or 3 robots, thanks bag rule).

Having the CAW the way it is is done for one of the same reasons the bag rule is in place, telling a potential new team that they have to work hard on a robot for 12-16 weeks is a much harder sell than 6 weeks, just like telling a potential team that their robot will cost $8000 (and let's be honest the true cost of competing every year as far as robot costs is much higher) is a much harder sell than $4000.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 11:06 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHeard View Post
Just to add noise into the discussion...

80% of inspectors, at least, are not qualified to match items on a CAW/BOM to the robot and other than them scanning for the few things they recognize OR checking for items above the price limit, it's not useful to them as part of the inspection process.
Quoted for truth. A significant portion of the inspectors are volunteers with no previous FIRST experience. Those with FIRST experience are unlikely to know everything necessary to thoroughly inspect teams. This is why the, "We passed inspection at 2 different events before this and haven't changed anything. Why did we fail?" happens regularly.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 11:12 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

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Originally Posted by Nick_Coussens View Post
(...) telling a potential team that their robot will cost $8000 (and let's be honest the true cost of competing every year as far as robot costs is much higher) (...)
That seems like quite a stretch of the truth! I'm sick of wasting money on a practice robot, but we still don't spend anywhere close to that amount. I'd love to see the budget breakdown from a team that does.


I'm a fan of removing the CAW entirely. Maybe keep the rule about the max cost of a single component, since it will be fairly obvious if it's exceeded.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 11:23 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

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That seems like quite a stretch of the truth! I'm sick of wasting money on a practice robot, but we still don't spend anywhere close to that amount.
It depends on what you consider "robot costs".

If we consider practice field components, two or three robots, prototyping expenses, investments that don't pan out (ex. we bought a camera api 2.0 android phone before the 2018 season ... then the limelight came out).

I could easily see costs of above 8k.
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Unread 10-08-2018, 11:37 AM
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Re: Delete the CAW (CAW Reform Discussion)

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I think before any changes should be made, whoever is in charge of deciding these things (which is almost certainly not Marshall)
While I do not claim to be in charge of the rules... I like to think that my points have gotten through to the right people and things have changed... and that my sarcasm and witty comments have helped others in seeing the light on some of these subjects... or at least coming up with their own surreal solutions for them, even if some of those solutions require me to wear cranial protection.
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