Engineering software companies routinely dazzle engineers with ever more sophisticated features, but how often do they quantify the profits to your company of investing in such engineering tools?
"Most firms view engineering as a cost center—not a value center," notes Ken Blakely, senior vice president of MSC.Software, a leading supplier of simulation and analysis software.
MSC.Software wants to do something about that and has launched a campaign to show customers how engineering investments can make companies more profitable. In the early weeks of this program, MSC documented some 70 examples of such payoffs:
An aerospace firm during one year invested $48,500 in analysis software, which reduced costs $600,000 by predicting forging defects early in the design of a turbine blade.
By reducing design time some 30 days, a seal manufacturer was able to design one more project per year. With a total investment of $65,000 in analysis software over three years, the company shaved costs by $120,000 and garnered $2 million in sales.
An auto company relied on analysis software in its decision to change the manufacturing process for a crankshaft from a forging to a casting. The payoff: annual production savings of $500,000.
MSC application engineers are now armed with "value worksheets" in their calculators that will show, based on the customer's objectives, the estimated ROIs from choosing MSC software or engineering services. "We use a proven approach, based on profit improvement metrics," says MSC Chairman Frank Perna.
Example: a company in the handheld PC market has studies showing that it can boost sales if it gets to market faster with a lighter, thinner product. MSC's "value worksheets" might show, based on historical data, that an investment of $1.4 million in software, engineering services, and training would yield $4 million in added sales and $900,000 in savings from decreasing time to market, cutting product weight, slicing case thickness, and reducing testing time and costs.
MSC's "value of engineering" crusade makes sense. The next time a vendor recites features of a product or service, be sure to ask—in dollars and cents—what that investment will yield for your company.