Always an important part of the business. I have costed out products under a standard cost approach, and determined costing standards and models for processes and operations.
It involves understanding operational steps, interacting with the operators and managers, and infering the drivers. With good models and rules, one can create objective means of allocation between products, departments, and operations.
In the past, I have also been part of Activity Based Costing projects, as part of an effort to effectively price out services.
Using MS Access and Excel, I have created costing models to maintain and generate product cost lists and costing tables for use in margin analyses. With the former, if you can create some base rules, the updating and production of reports is quick, and extremely accurate.