Have you ever had one of those days where it would have been better to have stayed in bed with the duvet pulled up firmly above your head? I’m sure most of us have had those kinds of days. Last week I was suffering from this malaise. I curbed the front wheel of our new car on the way to work, I dropped my breakfast bagel after taking the first bite (and yes a dropped bagel exhibits the same behavior as dropped toast… butter side down except my bagel had cream cheese and it was a mess to clean up but I digress) and when I got in to work I got an email informing me that the big project was still missing a major component and that a disaster was looming in the shadows. By 10 o’clock I was convinced that the day was going from bad to worse and that I would have been more productive had I just stayed in bed.
Sometimes a bad day can rapidly deteriorate into a very bad day. I read this story a couple of weeks ago (Daily Mail, November 1, 2011). About four years ago, several police departments in England decided to invest in some drones to help them keep an eye on criminal activity from the air. The remote-controlled drones can monitor activity from around 150ft and cost about £13,000 each. One police department (in Merseyside, England) used the drone to make a grand total of 1 arrest. A few days after making that arrest, they lost the drone due to power loss over water. I would think that was a bad day for those guys. An epic one at that. The powers that be issued a statement that they have decided not to invest in drones anymore because “the cost of training officers to operate the drone and the inability to use it in all weathers, outweigh its value and they will rely on the police helicopter for aerial cover.” They also mentioned that they had given the officers controlling the drone “words of advice” which apparently in cop speak means a reprimand of sorts. Wow…
This is very typical of what most managers do. They buy into an idea and make the initial investment but they see training as an unnecessary expense. So they leave the operators to their own devices and when they fail then it is the employee’s fault… not that insufficient training was provided to them on how to use the equipment, software, whatever. I actually see this quite often in the simulation world.
Let’s face it, simulation software is not cheap but when used properly it can pay for itself many times over. But life is not that simple is it? By the time you get the approvals for purchasing the software, very little money is left for training. Since you are a bright lot, you take on the task of training yourself. It takes you a few weeks (if you are lucky) or a few months (if you’ve bought traditional CFD software) to figure your way around the software. In the meantime, you’ve got to work on your projects. Talk about trial by fire. Unfortunately in the ensuing rush to get productive you may not learn all the little shortcuts or tricks that would make your life easier. Sometimes you manage to get your work done but sometimes you get so frustrated that you throw your hands up in the air and throw the software and the computer that houses it out the window while screaming “forget about CFD. Forget about simulation. I’ll stick with physical testing.”
Even though we pride ourselves on the ease of use of our solutions, be it FloEFD, FloTHERM or FloVENT, we always support our customers by providing short yet comprehensive training courses on the use of our solutions. These courses are held on a regular basis at various sites (click here then pick your geographical region on the upper left hand side and pick the product to see the classes in your region) or if you have special requirements our consulting team can provide onsite training customized for your needs at your location (check here for more information). Even power users can benefit from attending a “top up” session from time to time. At our last user meeting, we held several advanced training sessions. Afterwards many of them said that even though they’d been using FloTHERM for 10+ years, they still learned a few new tricks! So it’s never too late to get some training.
I don’t want to drone (ha-ha, I’m getting really cheesy in my old age) on about training. We all know that training can pay back for itself several times over in increased productivity. And that’s what we’re all about here.
Until next time,
PS. I’d like to wish my fellow Americans a very Happy Thanksgiving. Unfortunately I won’t be able to celebrate with my family this year (waited too long to book tickets). Instead I’m hoping to drag a couple of my lovely English friends to a pub serving Thanksgiving dinner. There will be lots of Americans around so that should be an interesting experience for us all!