I used to put companies in 1 of 3 buckets:
- Need to do CFD in-house
- Need to outsource occasional CFD consulting projects
- Primarily manufacture lawn chairs
I did my best to educate the companies in group 1 about the potential benefits and ROI they could expect from adopting upfront CFD. Once they purchased the software, we thoroughly trained them in the hopes that they could handle all future CFD needs on their own. We focused on group 2 purely from a traditional outsourcing perspective. “Tell us what you got, we’ll tell you how much it’ll cost to do the work, you tell us if that works for you, we deliver results, and everyone is happy.” I didn’t have anything to offer folks in group 3… and I still don’t.
In the past several years, we’ve made a habit of blurring our approaches for groups 1 and 2. I no longer assume that new software customers will never have a need for consulting services. In fact, I’ve found it to be quite healthy to build some early consulting projects into the initial software investment. Huh?!?
The beauty of these initial paid projects is more obvious when you take a close look at the standard process for first time software buyers:
- You buy the software from me.
- I arrange to bring a trainer onsite to train your staff for 2 days.
- You pat the engineers on the back and say, “Off you go, do me some CFD!”
Your engineers should certainly take the standard training session, but a far better way to ensure that the tool takes hold is to invest in a collaborative consulting project soon after. So, right upfront, we’ll look for a good candidate project. Our engineers will work with your team to understand the nuances and design constraints of your particular product. Then, we put together a baseline simulation that can be easily modified for a variety of what-if studies.
To be sure, it is best to use a real project so the delivered results have immediate benefit. Where traditional outsourcing would end, however, we are just getting started.
We call this next step a Technology Transfer:
Our engineers then hand your engineers these results along with all the CAD and analysis models used. We work with your team to get them started on the next design iterations using the consulting work as a baseline and head start. No stumbling around on the initial software learning curve, no frantic calls to technical support, just fast and sustainable productivity.
A Technology Transfer project can also be quite useful for more experienced customers who are having a tough time with a unique, demanding application. Maybe you are the only company in the world specializing in Mach 3 leaf blowers. Not a lot of case studies in that area, I’m afraid. Everyone can save a lot of time and grief by working collaboratively on such a project. Let us help you develop a “cook book” for your unique application. We’ll iron out the best practices together in the course of this consulting project.
Technology Transfer projects work… and I believe you’ll find the approach effective for any kind of engineering software. Give it a shot.