Outsource CFD simulation, or bring it in-house? It's an increasingly common question in a number of businesses, particularly with simulation use increasing across several industry sectors. In this article, we explore the pros and cons of both, and discuss how vendors like Envenio are working to provide businesses with the best of both worlds.
Put simply, CFD or computational fluid dynamics is used to simulate the movement and flow of liquids and gases, as well as the associated heat and mass transfer process. Understanding air movement and its effects on temperature distribution, as well as the dispersion and mixing of gases, smoke and contaminants is extremely important in a number of situations and industries including aerospace, HVAC, and construction, where it can help to:
- Reduce physical tests and therefore save time and money.
- Create better designs through virtual testing.
- Improve existing designs.
For the above reasons, vendors have worked hard to increase the accessibility and affordability of CFD simulations, and now many engineering, building and HVAC consultancies are looking to take advantage in the most cost-effective and time-efficient way. To learn more about CFD, check out our essential guide below.
The in-house model generally sees in-house engineers or consultants running and processing CFD simulation models, and is of course, commonplace in engineering consultancies and large enterprises.
Once established, an in-house team can prove a very useful asset, recruited to meet your company's requirements and able to work on all projects under your own management style. With each team member working towards a common goal, all your efforts are aligned and communication should be instant and seamless.
In terms of costs, those companies working with a substantial amount of CFD simulation projects may find recruiting an in-house team to work out more efficient in the long run. However, expenses such as salaries and hourly rates, taxes, recruitment and hiring fees, management and office space will also need to be factored in.
It's not always clear cut however, with companies in the architecture and HVAC industries now looking to expand CFD simulation use among its architects and HVAC engineers, despite these individuals not being CFD engineers. In such cases, companies must enlist the latest simulation software and facilitate sufficient training.
Envenio's Onboarding Program proves particularly useful for those companies looking to bring CFD simulation capability in-house for an existing team, and sees experienced engineers offering training on the EXN/Aero platform during a live project.
- Ultimate control, fast team feedback, guidance, and coordination.
- Communication: Able to engage and communicate with team easily.
- Full Commitment: Team are fully dedicated to your particular project and have no other clients.
- Time Saving: Team are already familiar with the business and culture.
- Recruitment Control: Can recruit individuals with desired experience to react immediately.
- Expensive: Salaries, insurance, payroll & taxes all have to be factored in
- Recruitment Costs: Time and money spent finding appropriate and experienced team members
- HR & Staff Dismissal: Issues with staff could add time and money losses
- Training: The time required to educate the staff member on the particular simulation requirements
- Possible Lack of Skills: Gap in skills could still exist in certain areas
With outsourcing, companies will trust their CFD simulation projects with an outside organization or consultancy, often following a pitch process and working to an agreed budget and fee.
A major advantage of outsourcing CFD simulation projects is having access to the absolute skills and experience you require based on a particular project's goals. You'll benefit from talent, project management, design, and the latest software, as they work to an agreed deadline. In addition, staffing issues are non-existent and are essentially not your concern.
For businesses working with intermittent CFD simulation requirements, outsourcing projects can often work out more cost-effective. Considered an operating expense rather than capital investment, outsourcing CFD prevents a company having to recruit team members and make wasteful investments.
- Time Efficient: Projects can be delivered to market in a shorter timescale and staffing delays are avoided.
- Choice: Flexibility to choose from a wider talent pool according to skills and expertise required for your project.
- No Commitment: Outsource your CFD simulation projects for a set time period, reviewing performance and making changes accordingly as per your contract or agreement.
- Cost-Efficient: Usually works out considerably less costly than hiring and training employees.
- Communication: As the team are not in-house, communication may be restricted to arranged meetings, emails and calls.
- Transparency: Potentially disappointing results and a failure to deliver on promised project outcomes. Work being carried out externally cannot be as easily tracked and monitored by you.
- Security and Confidentiality: Potential issues around sharing sensitive data.
- Dependance: Potential dependance on outsourced experts to effectively explain data to clients or run code that is not fully understood.
Summary of pros and cons - in-house vs outsourcing.
Best of Both Worlds
Of course, you may decide that a more fluid approach works best for you and your business. This is often the case with SME consultancies where project workload and type varies dramatically, and where cashflow remains a particularly important consideration.
Vendors like Envenio have worked hard to address this 'best of both worlds' scenario, providing CFD simulation services as and when required on an on-demand, pay-as-you-need basis.
The Discovery Project enables consultancies to outsource a particular project to Envenio engineers helping them to immediately increase their resources, remain on deadline, and exceed client expectations. This 'white label' approach is particularly useful for those businesses who cannot justify a long-term investment of additional staff members or software purchases. As highlighted earlier in this article, CFD becomes an operating expense rather than capital expenditure.
Both in-house and outsourcing CFD simulation projects require a level of understanding, particularly when it comes to processing results and data. While outsourcing can often be more cost-effective, creating an in-house team can undoubtedly bring a number of long term benefits. In addition, particularly within the HVAC and architecture sectors, companies are looking to bring software in-house, to be used among existing team members, so vendors must continue to provide technology that is effective, intuitive and easy to use.
In many cases, a combination of both in-house and outsourcing will prove most effective.