The Business of Engineering in Action

Our industry is facing unprecedented product complexity. What’s both scary and exciting is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of some of the really cool, but really hard stuff: autonomous cars, Internet of Things, and machine learning.

Yet, already, product complexity has surpassed organizations’ current systems and processes, and they are scrambling to adapt. It’s no one’s particular fault either. Manufacturers (and the legacy PDM systems they’ve been using) built their processes for a different era – when mechanical and electrical design ruled the day. We just don’t live in that world anymore.

Today, more and more of product development is a systems engineering challenge where each system is now a system of systems with layered software, electronics, and physical designs. Despite the rising complexity, these product designs must still go through the same validation and scale up for manufacturing at the same or better quality, reliability, and profitability.

We call this challenge today’s Business of Engineering.

Why The Business of Engineering?
The term Business of Engineering describes how business leaders and their engineering, IT, and product teams need to think broadly about all the aspects of designing complex products. It reflects the enterprise-wide nature of the product lifecycle and the multi-discipline engineering, decisions, data, and process that go into it.

Feedback from business leads and product teams is that The Business of Engineering helps them frame how they think about the multiple, cross-discipline challenges that they face.

Here are some current examples of The Business of Engineering in action – and the design challenges they pose:

Chevy Bolt – optimizing the interaction between electric and gas motors, battery, and regenerative braking to maximize vehicle performance and range.

Leonardo T129 Attack Helicopter – providing a high power-to-weight ratio and unrivalled performance, ensuring that power is available in combat maneuvers and emergencies.

Microsoft Hololens – a self-contained, holographic computer, and high resolution vision system in a comfortable, lightweight package. 

BAE Systems – BvS10 Goanna All-Terrain Amphibious Protected Vehicle – powerful, versatile, multi-purpose amphibious vehicle.


Path Forward
Each design cycle poses the potential challenge of designing an increasingly complex product in a shorter timeframe. And this pace is unlikely to slow. It is the nature of technology, progress, and smart people.

That means, the race to reinvent how complex systems are developed is here, and the next decade will be won by the manufacturers who are first to transform their product development processes.

Read how Akrapovič, Airbus, and Lord are succeeding in the Business of Engineering with the Aras PLM Platform.

Leave a Reply