Case Study: Engineering Design Consulting
From the start, as thoughts form around new design concepts, a trajectory begins to emerge. The starting thoughts in design are often the most critical because they influence results — for good or for bad. The importance of “beginning” is recognized across industries, and considerable focus goes to setting a trajectory for success. While methods with buzzwords like “Brainstorming” and “Sprint” are coined to represent ways of thinking, they all focus on quickly connecting on the path to success. Engineering Design Consulting fits in that category too.
One well proven way to set the right trajectory is inviting input from experience for thoughtful perspectives. This is helpful in all methods, because it expands the conversation and avoids past problems. Considering the new project in context of previous success definitely expedites progress.
If you could increase confidence in the direction of your design, would you do it?
Calling on the experience of Synthesis for design consulting is one ingredient in success for some of our customers.
The following is an example from just one of our customers. While the example is generic to protect the property of our customer, and their customer, we think there is value in sharing it.
Case Study Example
One of our customers is a large Engineering Firm that focuses on interesting features of commercial buildings and the like. They design and construct large and complex projects — usually as one-offs that provide aesthetics in function. You may have seen their work — large, beautifully functional structures in or around big buildings. One example we got to help with is a large winding staircase that appears to float in the air.
The business of one-off unique design and engineering often throws a curve simply because the designs are all new. There is a lot of “new” in the features, and that’s a challenge. Furthermore, there is no room for error because there is only one, and the cost is often in the millions of dollars. So how do they stack the deck in their favor?
Call In The Engineering Design Consulting
These folks are good at what they do, and very capable in their field, so it’s an honor to receive an invitation occasionally for design consulting. Our input is not usually in the aesthetic area, as the artists have already defined that. Our job is to assist in making it happen in ways that are safe, robust and functional. Normally, with this customer we don’t take a large portion of the engineering — they know how to do that. We support their tasks in a design consulting role to answer key questions or solve specific engineering or design issues.
Much of their business is in the Civil Engineering arena, and we are not Civil Engineers. However, in all areas of engineering design, sound understanding and creativity are important. Whether it be analysis of a beam structure for deflection, or a motorized system for containment, the physics define the work. The fields of Mechanical Engineering are vast, and they often intersect other areas. More to the point, when starting the design process, the most important piece is always finding the best ideas that will lead to success. For this customer, it’s a blend of both Civil and Mechanical design.
Design Innovation is one of our fundamental talents, so we fit this need very well. And, we know the mechanical engineering side so we can easily assist in those areas. Designing drive systems, for instance. Big engineering projects often require experts in several fields.
Engineering Design Consulting
In design consulting with this and other customers, we almost always work with a team to flesh out ideas and to analyze possibilities. This usually includes discussing ideas or brainstorming with concepts, then separating to analyze or model the concepts for further team evaluation. Scale prototypes convey concepts and enhance communication within the team. Also, to other engineering personnel, and to the end customer.
Design consulting brings valuable input for engineering and design to the project. That’s our role. Depending on the specific needs of the customer, sometimes we bring creative ideas about how to accomplish things. Sometimes we offer design analysis to give confidence in the direction they are going. Others need balance in expectations. Then, sometimes we assist with ways to prove a concept before it goes to production — often with prototypes of one kind or another. For us, it’s all about helping customers find a path of confidence, then expedite their progress along that path.
With respect to this case study, our role with the customer varies. While sometimes we give input and perspective, other times we do initial CAD modeling to show concepts and see about viability. For one project we built a demonstration unit to show how everything works. It all depends on the customer need, and in all these cases, we’re happy to help.
Because our experience spans numerous industries including design and manufacturing, we have a wealth of acquired knowledge to draw from. We combine the experience with creativity to mutate and apply previous concepts to new roles. And, we cross pollinate with ideas from other industries — which is the essence of value for design consulting. This customer values the outside input as it accelerates their progress. Getting on the right path for success right from the beginning is the objective.
This is an area where we love to help.
While many positives are highlighted above, we know it’s not the perfect fit for every situation. If you’re considering Design Consulting for your company, please read “How to Find the Right Engineering Consultant” and the follow-up article about making the Consulting Relationship a Success. It’s a process, and success depends on many choices. We invite you to connect with us to discuss ways that design consulting can assist in expediting your next project.
To see more examples of our work and to read more about Design Consulting, please visit the Engineering Services Consulting Page. There are also several more case studies on engineering topics in the library and in our Insight feature for you to read. Thank you for visiting our website.