How to Convince your Manager to Adopt Simulation Software
Evidence from many top-performing companies shows that employing simulation allows to significantly optimize the design process to deliver better products to the market in a much shorter period of time. However, if you are an engineer struggling with getting support from your manager who doesn’t see the value of simulation software solutions, don’t worry, you are not alone.
The most commonly cited sources of skepticism when it comes to adopting simulation technology are:
- Attachment to the status quo
- Lack of understanding of the technology and its value
- High costs of the software and hardware
- Difficulty of access to high performance computing power
- Training and expertise barriers
Many of these reservations are justified ― while the first two can be overcome by appealing to your boss in the right way, even the most tech-savvy and open-minded manager has to consider the costs of the investment and the limited resources at his disposal. The current industry standard ― on-premises CAE software solutions which have been used for the past 50 years ― are indeed rather expensive and can be difficult to integrate in the design process of a company which never employed simulation solutions before. Despite all of the benefits of the technology, many managers simply do not see it as a practical investment – to convince your boss otherwise you will need compelling arguments.
However with the emergence of cloud-based solutions and companies like SimScale, Onshape and others, many of these concerns have been invalidated, making simulation software accessible to anyone with a laptop and a desire to learn. You can read more on the democratization of CAE in this article: The Future of Product Design is in the Cloud.
This development has made convincing your manager and bringing him on board with simulation easier than ever. We have prepared a few arguments to help you successfully pitch the idea.
Emphasize the Benefits – Propose a Solution, not a Tool
While SimScale or another software of your choice has a variety of advanced features you as an engineer highly value, what your manager needs to know is what benefits the adoption of this tool would bring to the company. Focus on the “What” rather than the “How” of the problem that simulation would solve. This can be summed up in three main arguments (supported by survey results from this recent Aberdeen report):
Benefit 1: Lower production costs. The easiest argument in your case for simulation is lower costs. CAE (computer-aided engineering) has a proven track record as an effective cost-cutting measure. Companies monitored over a span of two years after incorporating a simulation solution into their design process report a 13% decrease in overall production costs, a 12% decrease in the number of physical prototypes and a 10% decrease in number of change orders after release to manufacturing. With ever increasing consumer demand for lower cost products, simulation has become an important investment.
Benefit 2: Shorter development time. Shortened product development schedules was cited by 52% of respondents in the Aberdeen report as their main reason for investing in simulation, and while many managers fear that having to learn a new tool would slow the engineers down, the numbers tell a different story — companies report that in the early stages of integrating a simulation tool in the design process, engineers were able to cut the development time by 8% at first and by 14% later on.
Benefit 3: Better product design. Simulation is no longer a tool to simply verify product design and drive the development costs down — it has in itself become a key driver of product innovation by allowing engineers to test and evaluate the more risky but high potential, innovative ideas. Empowering engineers in such a way leads to higher product differentiation and contributes to overall top-line growth.
Dispel concerns – adopting simulation is easier than it seems
One of the things preventing more companies from benefiting from simulation technologies are the widespread misconceptions about the software. Many of them have been justified in the past but have since been rendered obsolete thanks to new innovative solutions and the advancement of technologies like the cloud. Here’s how you can use that to counter the most commonly occurring misjudgments with convincing arguments:
Misconception 1: The costs of using simulation software are too high. While many managers can be reasonably reluctant to invest in a tool requiring regular and costly maintenance, licence updates, hardware and so on — with a cloud-based simulation tool those concerns no longer exist. Separate licences for different types of analysis (CFD, FEA, Thermal etc.) are replaced by monthly or yearly subscriptions granting you access to all the tool’s features. You have all the flexibility you need — pay only when you use the tool and commit only for short period of times. No need for manual updates either — with a cloud-based solution you will always have the latest version in your browser and the maintenance is done automatically.
Misconception 2: Computer-aided engineering always requires specialized local hardware. While it is true that powerful simulation tools used to require considerable hardware investments, with SaaS solutions like SimScale you have access to unlimited computing capacity whenever you need it. A standard web browser and Internet connection are sufficient for efficiently and flexibly setting up numerical simulations. With simulation functionality ranging from solid mechanics, fluid dynamics to thermal, acoustic analysis and particle phenomena, every user has access to state of the art simulation methods and the necessary computing resources — and those are just several of many arguments in favor of a cloud-based solutions.
Misconception 3: Simulation software training takes months. A common problem with many simulation tools is their complexity — while this may at times be necessary in order to perform sophisticated simulations, user-unfriendly UI and lack of freely available training materials makes it impossible to extract any value of the tool without months of extensive training. To resolve this issue, at SimScale we put constant effort into improving our users’ experience. SimScale is integrated with state-of-the-art solvers, including the OpenFOAM, Code_Aster, YADE, SU2 open source solvers and the platform was developed to provide a full set of simulation features in one single tool. It all comes with a user-friendly interface, no shell scripts, no coding, no struggle. This massively reduces the expertise required to use it.
In addition to that we provide all our users with simulation templates, step-by-step tutorials and webinars, as well as individual support on our forum — all that so you could start benefiting from our tool as soon as possible.
Ready to make a case for simulation in front of your manager? Here is a final tip for you!
While your message is the key, it is your phrasing that can sometimes decide your success. Unless your manager is a tech expert, chances are he might not be able to comprehend or appreciate all the technical aspects of a highly sophisticated tool — avoid using excessively technical language and instead phrase your proposal in terms that your manager would understand. Take advantage of the tool — a small demonstration using visuals generated by the software will give weight to your arguments and increase your chances of convincing your manager. Bring up the existing success stories — those companies benefited from SimScale and so can yours. And remember — there is strength in numbers and appealing to your colleagues can be a good first step before pitching the idea to the management. Having internal support is always helpful to swing your boss’s opinion.
All in all, there is no denying that CAE has entered a democratization stage and cloud-based solutions in particular are an easy sell to even the most wary and skeptical manager. The SimScale pricing model allows you to start with simulation for free through the Community plan or 14-day trial for the Professional account and scale the simulation capacity as it is needed. Give it a try!