Decision-making support

Do these thoughts ring a bell with you?

I have a deep love for mechanical engineering. Not only for the bells and whistles that we design (I would call that a shallow love), but also for the human interaction integrated in the processes towards bringing mechanical engineering products to the market.

When mechanical engineers bring a product to the market, one of two things will happen:

  1. The bloody thing works as intended and the customers like it
  2. The bloody thing does not work as intended and the customers hate it

That is, mechanical engineers are not in the business of selling illusions. In the world of mechanical engineering, you cannot talk a bad product into a good one. Volkswagen tried, but we all know what happened.

When you have been in the mechanical engineering business for decades, you really get the feeling of living in a small enclave of sanity surrounded by a mad, mad world. Like in the Asterix cartoon. The world around our little village deserves our greatest respect, because they handle their products and processes just as well as we do. They sell illusions - we don't and we have any reason to feel proud.

The middle section of this page elaborates on the difference between Simxon's take on things and that of others. You may want to jump directly to a list of Simxon offerings.

Pretty pictures and the basics of decision-making

The ability to make good decisions is a key element in successful mechanical engineering. I have witnessed simulation grow to become a mandatory part of the toolbox applied when engineering managers make decisions.

The guy doing a simulation may indulge in it and may believe that the pretty pictures it produces will please his manager. They probably won't. An engineering manager has other things on his mind. From the simulation expert, a manager just needs some alternatives to decide from. In that context, the fact that all the alternatives present themselves with pretty pictures is just noise.

My preferred communication strategy towards engineering managers is to present ordinary HTML tables with alternatives as columns and particular properties as rows. The table cells then contain property values which hyperlink to 3D solution information. This approach gives the manager the option to focus on key values only or to click on a particular value in order to study its background.

Many years ago, advertisements for cars focused on selling the concept of car ownership. Nowadays, everyone knows what a car is, so modern car commercials highlight the benefits of one particular car. Likewise, I believe time has come for not selling simulation in itself but instead to sell simulation with special features. Hence the attitude towards pretty pictures displayed on my website. I consider my attitude one of maturity.

Engineering management and the concept of maturity

Now comes a beautiful paradox: Most people will automatically think that the concept of maturity is associated with some kind of a dignified appearance. It may be so if you are a professional accountant. But the village inhabitants of Asterix exhibit a high degree of diversity for a reason: only truly original personalities can survive being sieged by the rest of the world and at the same time accomplish something useful such as bringing viable mechanical engineering products to the market. Every successful engineering manager knows that. You pay homage to the concept of maturity by honoring the requirements of extremely non-conforming employees.

These employees need tools that fit their mentality. The offerings of Simxon are based on the assumption that there is today a need for alternatives to the license-based simulation tools offered by the big vendors.

Simxon offers

  • a rational approach to maintenance optimization embodied in the SimxonCARE product (a package of services)
  • competence in an comprehensive range of market-leading open-source software packages
  • the ability to include almost any desired physical phenomenon by - for instance - adding code to open-source software
  • an understanding of how to use simulation results based on decades of experience
  • an understanding of how mechanical engineering departments organize themselves
  • cost reduction by discarding license fees (and license trouble) altogether
  • seamless integration with an entry level simulation vendor which offers an unprecedented cost-benefit ratio
  • a business model of customer ownership and transparency which is probably unique on the market

The millennium generation has introduced the term "disruption". I find it rather cute that they think they have introduced something new. At the age of 60, I know that they haven't.

A pretty picture. For more pretty pictures, see here.

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