Lately, I’ve been struck with the binary nature of the upfront CFD ROI. Businesses are either wildly successful with upfront CFD or the software gathers dust on a shelf. There really isn’t much in between.
Among the top several reasons for “failure to launch” is a lack of attention to the “upfront” in upfront CFD. Depending on how your engineering department is structured and what you make, there are many different ways to miss the upfront mark.
Here is a pretty common case: Your marketing team leads “Phase 0” of every new product initiative. These guys set some early war-room meetings and invite a functional program manager or two. Primarily, however, the scope for this new product is defined by industrial designers, artists, and marketing guys. If a new product idea makes it out of Phase 0, it naturally gets sent downstairs to the product design engineers.
So, Phase 1 starts off with some pretty pictures and artistic animations. All form and no function. A post-it note reads, “Guys, please fill in the guts of this pretty shape and make it work.” This strategy puts a hell of a lot of stress on your engineers and limits their ability to make meaningful changes based on performance.
The answer is pretty simple. Make damn sure a design engineer with some upfront CAE skills is a part of every Phase 0 team! Talk about catching problems long before they grow into post-design money pits!