Simulation usage throughout the product development lifecycle has undeniably grown in recent years. The primary drivers of this shift are the improvements in time-to-market, product quality, and overall cost. However, the ability to predict product performance faster and more reliably has also allowed designers to release more innovative offerings, open up new market opportunities, and ultimately, fuel top-line growth for the business.
These innovative offerings must also be conscious of changing consumer demands, shrinking development windows, limited resources, and the need to produce products at competitive prices if they are to be successful. A large part of achieving this level of awareness lies in simulating product behavior, which has historically been integral to larger, more complex industries like automotive or aerospace & defense. However, with the many benefits of understanding how a product will perform prior to physical testing, simulation is being adopted by a majority of SMBs across a broad spectrum of industries.
Simulation helps designers make effective decisions around product development. In fact, almost three-quarters of companies today state that they want to increase their use of simulation during development for important and tangible benefits associated with simulation adoption. The ripple effect, especially among executives, has helped key decision makers realize the impact simulation can have on their top-line growth.
For the most part, companies are focused on satisfying their most immediate concerns first. The first concern for many within product development is to ensure that existing product schedules do not slip as a result of any new initiative, regardless of whether it results in increased profits or greater profitability. Simulation is evolving from solely a design verification tool (to reduce physical testing costs and product development time) to a key enabler of product innovation and market share when used up front in the design process.
Building and testing design prototypes virtually allows for hundreds or even thousands of permutations to occur rapidly. This enables designers to spend more time evaluating risky, but high potential, ideas. In our research, we isolated those respondents who indicated top-line growth as a primary driver to their simulation investments to understand the impact this approach can have on company performance. The table below highlights the performance of these two groups (Top-Line Focus indicates companies who use simulation to drive innovation and product differentiation).
Clearly, companies who use simulation to drive top-line growth are rewarded for their efforts. However, it is important to not lose sight that it takes more than just implementing simulation to succeed as a business — there are many best practices that go into maximizing its value.