What do I get out of it?

As part of my job I regularly get people telling me they want to use simulation for this or that, and it got me thinking, “what is the biggest benefit people get from using these tools?”

Having a random dig through some websites this week I found an old paper done by someone at MIT in 2006, who interviewed hundreds of SolidWorks simulation users (via the web of course, oh, and they were COSMOS users at the time) to find out exactly that information. And the results were staggering…well at least to me anyway.

Initially I was not surprised to hear that 99% of users found an increase in productivity by using simulation methods, that’s why we do it. But how do you define productivity? Well, the largest percentage of people cited improved product quality as the biggest outcome of using simulation, closely followed by a reduction in the number of prototypes, a reduction in product weight/costs, reduced time to market, and finally a reduction in recalls. Not bad.

OK, you might say, but by how much do these productivity increases benefit the customer in the long-run? Each company was asked to define how much of an improvement was found in each of these areas. And our survey says…

  1. the average increase in product quality was reported as 26%!!! That’s a massive increase if you ask me. Consider your product, which probably works ok and has done so for many years. Now imagine trying to make it 26% better. Hmmm…I thought so.
  2. the average reduction in prototypes was 25%. Now that’s only 1 in 4, which I expected to be a bit higher really, but I guess it depends on how costly your prototypes are. However add to that an 18% reduction in physical testing and it now becomes clear how to save money on the old wooden models and crash test dummies (oh yes, we’ve come on a bit since then haven’t we?).
  3. 23% increase in time to market!!! Another wow. That’s got to be quick.
  4. and finally 9% fewer product recalls, which is always a good sign when trying to protect your brand in the marketplace.

So there we have it. I was impressed by the numbers and I hope you are too. After all, who wouldn’t want to see those levels of productivity gains in their company in these depressing times?

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