Book Title, The Economics of Automatic Testing
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  • The Economics of Automatic Testing, available again for test professionals, manufacturing managers, ATE suppliers and engineering students
  • Engineering economics and life-cycle cost analysis specifically applied to the electronics manufacturing industry
  • Use economic analysis techniques to optimize decisions in design, manufacturing, production test and the field
  • Understand how the driving forces of cost, quality, time to market and technology adoption influence the strategies for the company, for design, for manufacturing, for test and for the field
  • See how to develop the most effective test strategy and implement it with the best tactics. The best testers for the job
  • Learn how to create detailed cost and capacity models and use them to evaluate alternative strategies, tactics and testers
  • Understand how your test strategy can influence your company's financial performance
  • See how to develop a cost justification and return on investment for your chosen strategy and how to present your ideas to senior management
  • All presented with numerous worked examples, charts, tables and diagrams
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Reviews and citations

"An excellent account of the technology, economics and associated advantages of using ATE is provided by Brendan Davis. Although Davis wrote this comprehensive work on the
economics of automatic testing over a quarter of a century ago, the value of its contents has not in any way diminished with time."

Norman Pascoe. "Reliability Technology: Principles and Practice of Failure Prevention in Electronic Systems."
Based on course notes from an MIT class.
Published 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


"Brendan Davis, the author of the very first text on test economics—The Economics of Automatic Testing—has produced an expanded and updated second edition. It has been written in Brendan’s customary highly readable style, reducing to an understandable level the complex issues that are brought to play in this field of analysis. The book is a must for postgraduate courses and, more importantly, for industry professionals, prepared as it is by someone with a wealth of experience in industry ATE requirements."

Professor Tony Ambler
Brunel University

Comments provided for the back cover of the 1994 second edition.


"Test Economics Bible Enters the 90s

The first edition...rapidly became the most definitive...comprehensive source on test economics... In many respects, its current version (second ed... 1994) is is not the same book that Davis wrote (in 1982)... merely brought up to date. It is a new, comprehensive treatment from a man who is generally regarded as one of the premier experts on this subject.

This edition contains a complete chapter on 'The Quality Revolution' and one on 'Time to Market' even before introducing economic principals... Reflections on the business implications of test decisions add perspectives that bring the book's subjects closer to a working engineer's day-to-day concerns.

...Numerous theoretical models, practical tools and calculation methods help engineers and managers make the best possible economic decisions. What has not changed is the author's basic contention: Test strategy decisions are essentially economic decisions."

Stephen Scheiber. "Test & Measurement World" 1994

Test economics book available again

When the first edition of "The Economics of Automatic Testing" was published in 1982 it quickly became a standard work for the electronics manufacturing industry. Manufacturing and test professionals had seen major changes in their responsibilites since the first computer-based printed circuit board tester was introduced in 1969. Priced at $32,000 it was about thirty times more expensive than typical 'bench top' test equipment such as the oscilloscope! Just over a decade later the average price of board testers had risen to the $250,000 mark and test strategy analysis, economics of test, or test economics, had become new topics of conversation.

Making purchase decisions was a nerve-wracking, career-influencing activity—and capital investment decisions of this size were new to most test managers. "The Economics of Automatic Testing" provided much needed relief. It showed in an easy to understand manner how to compare alternative test strategies, compare alternative automatic test equipment (ATE), where the costs lay, where the savings lay and how to present the implementation plan to senior managers in terms they could understand—Cash and Return on Investment.

In 1994 a much expanded second edition of the book was published. The first edition had focussed mainly on the effect that testing decisions had on the test and manufacturing operations but this new book showed how those testing decisions affected the well being of the entire company. In particular, the ability to meet cost, quality and time-to-market goals whilst at the same time implementing new technologies. It puts into clear perspective the importance that good testing decisions can have on meeting those goals and therefore on the performance of the enterprise as a whole.

This 1994 edition has been unavailable for some years but has now been converted to ebook form, with a few updates, and is available for purchase from leading on-line retailers.

In some areas this 1994 publication will be a bit dated—the only constant in electronics being change—but this is not really an issue. The book is not about defect rates, labour rates or test technology—the things that have changed—it is about managing the potentially conflicting issues of cost, quality, time-to-market and technology adoption, by using engineering economics and life-cycle-cost analysis, to enable optimal decisions to be made about complex technological issues in design, manufacturing, test and the field—none of which have changed. These core concepts and the calculation methods have changed in only one respect—it has become more important than ever to make good use them!

The numbers used in the examples may be out of date but the concepts, process, and methodologies used are not. If you look at the comments at the top of the right hand column—taken from an April 2011 book based on an MIT class—you will see that the author is indicating that even the 1982 edition of the book is still current!

Chapter Listing

The book is divided into twelve chapters and a number of appendices. A full contents list can be seen on the 'About the Book' page and is also available as a PDF file on the 'Downloads' page.

Chapter 1 — Introduction and overview

Chapter 2 — The Quality Revolution

Chapter 3 — Time to Market

Chapter 4 — A Primer of Test Economics

Chapter 5 — Design and Test Economics

Chapter 6 — Component Test Economics

Chapter 7 — Board Test Economics

Chapter 8 — Test Strategy Analysis

Chapter 9 — Evaluating Automatic Test Equipment

Chapter 10 — Field-Service Economics

Chapter 11 — Financial Appraisal

Chapter 12 — Presentation to Management



Photo of the cover of 1982 edition of The Economics of Automatic TestingPhoto of the cover of 1994 edition of The Economics of Automatic Testing











Covers of the two printed editions. 1982 (left) 1994 (right)