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  • By Mandy Tague
  • In Blog
  • Posted 29/09/2015

Mandy Tague, Director, Business Development Americas from Lanner looks at what the simulation industry can do to ensure its rightful place in the business world

Any Harry Potter fans out there will be all too familiar with the term ‘Dark Arts’, the mysterious and wicked spells that are performed by evil wizards in their efforts to take over the world. So, what’s this got to do with simulation, you might ask. Well, fiction aside, some business leaders regard simulation as a kind of dark art. They see simulation as an unknown entity that’s only understood by modelers and techies, who bash away at their keyboards in dimly-lit rooms, keeping themselves (and the technology) very much removed from the rest of the business.

The only people who can change this perception and move simulation from the shadows into the well-lit confines of the boardroom, are the simulationists themselves. Simulation as an industry needs to lose the techno-babble and instead talk in real business terms about the importance of using decision-support tools to gain strategic advantage. The industry as a whole needs to communicate with business leaders, as well as with the technical teams within an organization, explaining not how the technology works, but how, if built into the culture of the business, it can add real, long-term value to the bottom line.

The technology behind simulation is without doubt complex, featuring a myriad of algorithms to enable simulationists to factor in a seemingly endless list of variables to solve real business issues through the use of dynamic modeling. However, one doesn’t have to understand the technology to appreciate the value that simulation can bring. Simulation provides the tools to demonstrate the immediate and long term impacts of decisions, replicating dynamically the results that will be achieved (or targets that will be missed) if a particular course of action is taken. Simulation provides the only sure fire means of risk-free, robust, comprehensive testing, without any real world consequences for the business.

The only way to make simulation a regular item on the boardroom agenda, is to prove how useful a tool it is. This is something that the simulation team at Ford has managed to do successfully, with the company using simulation to provide rapid responses to various ‘what if’ management questions on production. Add to this the fact that the company’s simulation team has grown ten-fold in the past four years, and you can see how simulation has freed itself from its technical restraints at Ford.

But it’s not just the board for whom simulation needs to be made more accessible. If it is truly to become an everyday part of the business, as well used as say your accounting software, it’s vital to educate the rest of the business about the quantifiable results that simulation can achieve. All key stakeholders and external consultants must be fully aware of the capabilities simulation can bring if the technology really is to take its rightful place in a business’s armoury of deployable and dependable assets which ensure the efficient and successful management of an organization.

Simulation has the potential to be an everyday part of the wider management of an organization, rather than just a niche part of the business that only a select few are party to. If simulation is to get the recognition it deserves and secure its place as a must-have business solution, the industry as a whole needs to lose the technical jargon and geek-speak and instead focus on the benefits that simulation can bring, namely the undeniable fact that simulation results in clear, tangible ROI and is a vital business tool for the ultra-competitive markets of today.

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