I had an interesting couple of phone calls back to back today. In the first call, I was speaking with a guy in charge of coordinating all engineering software licensing, common-ization, and usage in a multinational company with thousands of engineers. The second call was with an engineering manager at a single-location-company with 2 engineers in-house.
Both guys had pretty much the same core issue: how to ensure that multi-tasking, generalist engineers adopt and actually use upfront CAE tools!
In the first case, the giganto company certainly had a small battalion of PhD specialists driving hardcore traditional CFD tools. But, this company also recognized the need to maintain a complimentary capability at the design engineering level. It would, of course, be impractical for the smaller company to even consider building in-house traditional CFD expertise.
So, once you strip out the specialists, both companies were really dealing with the same core issue. Generalist engineers are becoming more and more valuable in industry today. If you can’t wear a lot of hats, you probably can’t move at the required speed of business. I predict we’ll continue to see the size of specialist engineering functions shrinking in the future. As that trend continues, companies big and small will need to pay close attention to how they train and support generalist engineers.
Bottom line: Generalist engineers make CFD a part of their job… not their whole job… and, certainly not their whole reason for being on the planet! It is in your best interest to endorse and plan for regular “refresher training” to augment the initial basic training for these engineers.
A PhD specialist probably won’t ever need update training for a traditional CFD tool. Besides being too proud to submit to it, they have the drive to learn every widget, button, and knob on their own. Generalist engineers, however, benefit significantly from frequent refresher courses. What an inexpensive way to ensure an ongoing ROI on your upfront CFD investment!