At one time, entrepreneurs created great innovations in their garages, and engineers worked in silos. Not so anymore. Modern engineering simulation requires integration in terms of physics, people, hardware and software resources. Integration brings these components together for quick and cost-effective success.
Integration of Physics
Products today are very complex. For example, good performance may require interaction of solids, liquids and gases within an electromagnetic or acoustic field. Whatever the combination of interactions, they must all be properly managed to avoid undesired interference within a product, between products or with consumers. Properly predicting product behavior requires reliable modeling of meaningful physics as well as their interactions. Neglecting important physics can lead to the wrong conclusion.
Today’s world-class engineers can be found on every continent, and modern telecommunications tools enable companies to leverage the best resource wherever they are located. Consider this example: A leading turbine manufacturer can’t risk losing the experience accumulated by its long-term designers based in in Europe and North America — but at the same time the company would welcome people working in all corners of the globe in a 24-hour cycle to speed up the design process. One solution is close interaction between experienced designers (who can quickly perform advanced modeling) and skilled analysts (who might be based in a low-labor-cost developing country). This allows work to be performed efficiently around the clock through different time zones. The company can leverage accumulated experience and seize the opportunity to employ specialists in other regions, delivering the product earlier.
Centralization of Software Resources
Consolidating resources can help an organization deliver more robust designs within a shorter timeframe. For example, ABB is centralizing its software acquisitions while distributing cost on a per-usage basis. This policy facilitates both scaleup and efficient exploitation of licenses that can be employed broadly. By concentrating its efforts with a few software vendors, the company acquires more influence with each vendor and facilitates the entry of new employees, who find an environment of experienced people able to assist them through the initial learning curve. ABB is reinforcing this strategy by setting up its own software global technical support team to deliver first-level support. In addition, centralizing software needs and resources allows the company to gain access to low-volume/special-purpose codes that would not be affordable using an isolated, location-centric approach.