It's hard to argue the benefits and the need for digital simulation in product development design today. Shrinking development schedules and reduced budgets for development are two of the main drivers encouraging all manufacturers to give simulation a look -- regardless of the size of the organization. Indeed, research from analyst firm Aberdeen Group shows that while midmarket companies are adopting simulation, their embrace of it is mixed -- as are their results. For example, data show that:
- 87% of midsize companies are employing simulation solutions in the design phase, with 77% using it in the test phase. Fully 100% of best-in-class firms deploy simulation in the design phase.
- 28% of midsize firms allow casual analysts (engineers who aren't dedicated to simulation) to perform product simulations in the design phase, and 25% allow expert analysts to mentor the casual analyst.
- 37% of midsize companies centrally manage relationships between simulation and product decisions, and 14% centrally manage the relationship between simulation and product data.
These percentages all fall below the levels embraced by best-in-class performers (the top 20% performers in a research study). Indeed, in many cases midmarket companies are adopting these practices at levels below the poorest performers.
The good news is that midsize firms can take some obvious actions to make better use of their simulation solutions. These include "creating auditable decision trails in order to drive better decisions in the future and improve performance," notes Aberdeen Group. Also, the firm suggests encouraging mentoring by expert users; deploying design-driven simulation solutions; and considering the use of wizards or guides to collect best practices.