Using Simulation to Make Better Decisions – Part 1

By AlRobertson

In the present economy, returning to and maintaining profitability is the main focus for many companies, and this is driving them to look for ways to reduce costs. The design decisions of engineers make a significant impact on the final cost of a product. When armed with the right resources, engineers are empowered to make better decisions that enable them to take cost out of products without sacrificing quality, thus improving profitability for the company. The Cost Savings Strategies for Engineering whitepaper by Michelle Boucher of the Aberdeen Group shows how companies can use CAE software to make better engineering decisions.

In this first of two posts I’ll cover the issues that are driving change and outline the performance advantages enjoyed by the best-in-class companies that take advantage of simulation.

Drivers for change

Respondents to the Aberdeen Group survey indicated the following as their top design challenges.

Interestingly, all design challenges demonstrate a need for simulation in the design cycle. When looking at simulation it’s important to consider the design environment in which companies work. The whitepaper reveals some interesting data concerning the extent to which multiple CAD formats are utilized, implying that any simulation capability clearly has to be capable of communicating with numerous CAD platforms. The need to support such a diverse range of CAD formats comes from the variety of CAD products used in the supply chain as well as a requirement to maintain use of legacy data from older systems to allow data reuse in new designs and to cover any ongoing design work over the product lifecycle.

Performance advantages of the best-in-class

Michelle defines best-in-class companies as those that do the best job of launching a product on time as well as meeting cost and quality objectives. So for best-in-class companies, typically over 8 or 9 out of 10 of the products launched meet or exceed these criteria.

Other metrics that Michelle employs to define best-in-class include change in product cost and change in profit margins. Best-in-class see a 6% reduction in product cost while other categories see increases, and best-in-class see profit margins 3 times that of their competitors.

In the next post I’ll continue the outline of the Cost Savings Strategies for Engineering whitepaper by Michelle Boucher of the Aberdeen Group and cover what the best-in-class are doing differently and steps for success. Also available is an exclusive video presented by Michelle that highlights the key takeaways of the whitepaper. 

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at