1 on 1 with: Steve Brown

In this Rev-Sim interview we’re talking with VCollab’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Steve Brown. Steve, thank you for taking a few minutes to share your thoughts on a few simulation-related topics with us.  Let’s get into it.

What are you hearing about market trends that are impacting Simulation teams?

Our customers from different industry verticals tell us they have new product program timing that is shrinking, physical test budgets that are being reduced, and their simulation teams are being asked to produce 20-30% more CAE studies each year…often with no head count increase! Companies also tell us they are looking for more effective ways to share simulation insights across the enterprise.

Given this, Simulation leadership is looking to introduce additional efficiencies in their end-to-end CAE processes to help with throughput and a more effective medium to share critical CAE insights with.

Current manual methods utilized today in CAE post-processing and reporting steps are very inefficient and because they are manual, human error is a possibility. VCollab is uniquely positioned to introduce a different class of tool to help companies automate scanning and visualization of CAE results, then quickly convert this to 3D digital information for consumption by design stakeholders.

Let’s talk about the CAE report out process. How is this generally handled now?

Today, simulation insights are shared with design and reviewed in static, 2D PowerPoint slides. These slides are created manually by highly skilled analysts, cutting and pasting images from their post-processing environment into PPT slides. They are then manually annotated within PowerPoint. These manual steps are inefficient and can take 4-8 hours or more to finish.

What’s wrong with this approach?

Low fidelity, 2D static PPT slides often lack the clarity to support rapid, confident design decisions by design stakeholders. This leads to designers calling the analyst after receiving the initial report with questions and requests for additional slides to be created from different viewing perspectives than were originally provided. These questions and requests lead to delays in an environment where new program timing is shrinking and placing a premium on going from CAE results to design decisions more rapidly than ever before.

For many manufacturers, the crucial process of sharing simulation insights with design stakeholders is reliant on tools and methods that are decades old and quite honestly are not designed for today’s digital environment.

Think about today’s product development processes. Nearly the entire process is digital. We design, review, share, release, evaluate, test, and even print – in 3D. This digital environment allows data to be leveraged across all areas of the product lifecycle, accelerates processes, and maximizes investments.

What are the results of this?

Some studies indicate that as much as 80 percent of a product’s cost is committed during the early upstream design stages. Analysis results are therefore critical to the success of that product – from both a performance and financial perspective. A more thorough understanding of shared simulation insights from CAE allows critical decisions to be made faster and better. This has a direct and measurable impact on innovation, product quality, time to market, and ultimately the bottom line.

From a human resources perspective, it’s extremely demanding and time consuming to ask CAE analysts to put a lot of time into creating CAE report outs. CAE Analysts are valuable, highly skilled resources and we would like to see them perform more simulation studies rather than build PowerPoint slides.

How much time are we talking about here?

According to a report from CIMdata, CAE analysts routinely spend up to 30 percent of their time manually creating and updating simulation report outs. Obviously, this is not the best way to leverage the expertise of these valuable resources when there are other, more efficient solutions in the market.

What are the alternatives?

What’s needed is a way to consolidate all data in a standard format. This allows CAE analysts to quickly extract essential information from large data sets, produce a clear, understandable picture of the product’s performance in the context of this data, and easily share and archive this information.

How does VCollab address this issue?

VCollab’s solution provides the fastest way to go from CAE results to CAE information that can be used by design stakeholders to make quick, confident design decisions to improve product performance all while never missing a hot spot.

VCollab’s unique capabilities enable CAE Analysts to automatically scan all results to identify key hot-spots, automatically annotate these hot-spots, and then store 3D Digital slides within VCollab. The significance of this is that these 3D Digital slides can be edited, and re-post processed at any point after being created. Traditional manual, 2D methods only create PPT slides which have to be completely recreated if changes are required.

VCollab’s 3D Digital slides allow Release Engineers and Design Engineers to zoom, rotate, and animate as well as probe anywhere on the model to see results in non-annotated areas. Providing design stakeholders with interactive, 3D Digital slides helps them understand simulation insights more completely, eliminating most questions and requests for additional PPT slides and helps accelerate product development while enhancing product quality and innovation.

The 3D digital model is the report in VCollab. By reducing or eliminating non-value-added manual tasks, bottlenecks, and delays, VCollab transforms simulation reporting, and the way simulation insights are consumed, allowing CAE Managers, Analysts, Designers, Release Engineers, and others to collaborate freely and in real-time. It’s now easier for analysts to build, edit, and share key simulation results with design teams, allowing them to make better-informed design decisions quicker.

Do you have any metrics that put the impact of enabling more efficient simulation report outs into perspective?

It is not uncommon for PowerPoint report out decks to exceed 100 pages and they can take days to create. VCollab customers tell us they see efficiency gains of 60-90% in creating these report outs as compared to traditional manual methods.

What industry or industries are a good fit for VCollab?

VCollab’s largest vertical today is automotive but any industry that relies on simulation is a candidate to see benefits by adopting VCollab.

How can someone learn more about this?

The best way is to visit our website at www.vcollab.com. Or shoot me an e-mail at steve.brown@vcollab.com.  Either way, I’d be interested to learn more about your CAE report out process and discuss how we might be able to help.

What do you like most about working in sales for VCollab?

You hear this so often that it has become cliché. But I have to say that the people at VCollab are truly dedicated to the quality of our software and the success of our customers. I also enjoy the opportunity and challenges of scaling the company and sharing our disruptive technology message with new companies. It’s really satisfying to see and hear about the difference we are making for our customers.

Thanks Steve. Enough about work… tell us a little about yourself.  What do you enjoy doing in your spare time, interesting hobbies, and so on?

I have several interests away from the office. I enjoy golf, skiing, and cooking. My wife and I also enjoy traveling. Some of our favorite places to visit are Mexico and Portugal.