Computational Fluid Dynamics

Choosing a CAE Services Provider

You have the need for CAE, in order to ensure your company’s products perform as intended by meeting their design requirements.  You might or might not currently be doing CAE in-house.

How do you know that you have the need to use an external CAE services provider?  You do if:

  1. You have no in-house CAE personnel
  2. Your in-house CAE team lacks some needed expertise
  3. Your in-house CAE team is occasionally overwhelmed with internal projects
  4. Your in-house CAE team’s processes are inefficient

Each of the above situations benefits from using an external CAE services provider:

  1. No personnel – you can outsource all of the CAE projects to the external provider
  2. Lack some expertise – you can outsource selected projects, or portions of projects, to the external provider that has that expertise
  3. Occasionally overwhelmed – you can outsource some projects, or portions of projects, to the external provider that has resources
  4. Inefficient processes – you can have the external provider work with your in-house team in order to create and implement better processes

The benefits of using an external CAE services provider can be summarized as delivering CAE results by providing the expertise and resources you lack.  Resources includes not only people but also software (for example, your in-house team might not have access to specific software modules needed for the analysis).

Now that you’ve established the need for an external CAE services provider, what do you look for in choosing one?

First, define your high-level needs, as described above.  Are you after expertise, resources, processes, or all?  What is your timeframe of need?  The answers to these define the “why” and “when.”

With respect to analysis expertise, what—specifically—is needed?  What types of performance requirements and design criteria need to be met? What does the typical operating environment look like? What materials are your products made of?  How do you need the CAE results delivered?

If you need CAE process improvement expertise, do you have an idea as to current process bottlenecks and inefficiencies?  If not, are you willing for the services provider to work with your team to determine them?

After the above have been considered, you’ll have another selection criterion: services provider track record in successfully doing CAE projects similar to yours.  Has the candidate done projects as large—or as small—as yours?  Have they done projects as long—or as short—as yours?  You don’t want to be the guinea pig to have the CAE services provider learning on your time and dime.

Once all of these have been answered, you use these as “must have” criteria in selecting your CAE services provider.

There are also some “nice to have” selection criteria that can be considered:

  • Does the candidate CAE services provider provide knowledge transfer so your team learns and is more likely to be able to do this themselves next time?
  • Does the services candidate provide related services—software training, process automation—to further increase your team’s skills?
  • Does the candidate have enough breadth in order to provide additional needed services if or as your needs change?
  • Does the candidate have a methodology for defining and delivering services?
  • Does the candidate have a services process that is aimed at you receiving business value?

The benefits of using an external CAE services provider are many, as long as you make sure that the company you choose provides—at a minimum—your “must have” criteria.