I think you can learn a lot by doing competitive benchmarking — the act of comparing yourself with your competitors along a certain set of criteria. It can highlight your strengths and weaknesses and it may even help you uncover new opportunities. While you may already be familiar with the concept as it applies to manufactured goods, I’m not sure how many people consider looking at what their competitors “do” as a possible area for benchmarking. So I thought it might be a good subject for our chat today.
According to a 2007 Aberdeen Group survey, more than 2/3 of the people surveyed said that they have missed their engineering release dates because engineering verification took too much time. Mind you there are other reasons such as changes in design specifications and staffing issues but verification across the board is a major bone of contention. As a matter of fact, because designs are becoming more complex, many companies are spending more time on validation than on design! Ouch.
After drilling down, the group also found something else that was really interesting. They found that the amount of time spent is different depending on where the organization fits in the market. The research group found that companies which are considered as “best in class” spend only 19% of their time in thermal verification while “average” companies and “laggards” spend 37% and 45% respectively. That’s a huge difference. Now there may be several reasons why the leaders of the pack spend less time on thermal verification but I will focus on one here: doing fewer respins is a definite advantage.
To reduce the number of respins, you need to create an optimal design faster. As the leading thermal verification tool in the electronics sector, FloTHERM helps support this design process by offering some fantastic functionality such as accurate analysis results, fast solution speed and powerful postprocessing. But it also offers something that is pretty unique: automatic design optimization. FloTHERM lets you specify a design goal and then it does all the hard work of finding the right combination of design variables that meet the goal. Or if you want to fully explore the design, you can set up the system to analyze all possible combinations of parametric variations. I adore this feature because to put it quite simply… it works! Use it to optimize heatsink designs, explore where PCB components should be placed or select the right fan and blower…its application is only limited by your imagination. If you are curious to see how it works, please take a few minutes and watch a series of short on-demand videos on the subject here.
There is no doubt in my mind that having access to the right tool, FloTHERM, can shorten the amount of time needed for thermal verification. But you don’t have to take my word for it. According to an independent survey in 2007, users of Mentor Mechanical thermal verification software spend significantly less time on thermal analysis than users of other tools (please see the chart). I guess this data didn’t really surprise me because 19 of the top 20 electronics companies in the world use FloTHERM and I can’t imagine any of these companies got to be where they are by sitting around waiting for answers.
So … where do you fit in the market? If you’re using FloTHERM then chances are you are amongst the leaders of the pack. If you’re not, then maybe it’s time to do something about it.
Until next time,