Bruce Jenkins is President of Ora Research, an engineering research and advisory service. Maplesoft commissioned him to examine how systems-driven engineering practices are being integrated into the early stages of product development, the results of which are available in a free whitepaper entitled System-Level Physical Modeling and Simulation. In this series of blog posts, Mr. Jenkins discusses the results of his research.
This is the third entry in the series.
My last post, System-level physical modeling and simulation: Adoption drivers vs. adoption constraints, described my firm’s research project to investigate the contemporary state of adoption and application of systems modeling software technologies, and their attendant methods and work processes, in the engineering design of off-highway equipment and mining machinery.
In this project, I interviewed some half-dozen expert practitioners at leading manufacturers, including both engineering management and senior discipline leads, to identify key technological factors as well as business and competitive issues driving adoption and use of systems modeling at current levels.
After identifying present-day adoption drivers as well as current constraints on adoption, finally I sought to learn practitioners’ visions, strategies and best practices for accelerating and institutionalizing the implementation and usage of systems modeling tools and practices in their organizations.
I was strongly encouraged to find a wealth of avenues and opportunities for exploiting enterprise business drivers, current industry disruptions, and related internal realignments and change-management initiatives to help drive introduction—or proliferation—of these technologies and their associated new ways of working into engineering organizations:
- Systems modeling essential to compete by creating differentiated products
- Mechatronics revolution in off-highway equipment
- Industry downturns and disruptions create opportunities for disruptive innovation
- Opportunities to leverage change in underlying industry competitive dynamics
- Mining industry down-cycle creates opportunity to innovate, find new ways of working
- Some manufacturers are using current down-cycle in mining industry to change their product innovation strategy
- Strategies of manufacturers pursuing disruptive innovation
- Best odds are in companies with deep culture of continually inculcating new skills into their people, and rethinking methods and work processes
- Some managements willing to take radical corporate measures to replace old-thinking engineering staff with “systems thinkers”
- Downsizing in off-highway equipment manufacturers may push them to seek more systems-level value-add from their component suppliers
- New technology opportunities inside manufacturers ready to move more deeply into systems modeling
- Opportunities in new/emerging industries/companies without legacy investments in systems modeling tools and libraries
- Best practice for introducing systems modeling: start with work process, then bring in software
- Capitalizing on engineering’s leeway and autonomy in specifying systems modeling software compared with enterprise-standard CAD/PLM tools
- Systems modeling technology advances anticipated by practitioner advocates
- Improving software integration, interoperability, data interchange
- Improving co-simulation across domain tools
- Better, more complete FMI (Functional Mock-up Interface) implementation/compliance
- Higher-fidelity versions of FMI or similar
The white paper detailing the findings of this research is intended to offer guidance and advice for implementing change, as well as documentation to help convince colleagues, management and partners that new ways of working exist, and that the software technologies to support and enable them are available, accessible, and delivering payback and business advantage to forward-thinking engineering organizations today.
My hope is that this research finds utility as a practical, actionable aid for engineers and engineering management in helping their organizations to adopt and implement—or to strengthen and deepen—a simulation-led, systems-driven approach to product development.
You can download the full white paper reporting our findings here.
Bruce Jenkins, Ora Research