Crystall Ball en empresas de ingeniería
As an engineer, you know that some level of variability exists in all
processes and projects. When variability increases, the results can include
missed deadlines, escalating costs, and disappearing profits. An important part
of your job is to identify the sources of variability, whether technical or
financial, and to manage and reduce the variability as best you can. That's why
you need Crystal Ball.
Crystal Ball is an easy-to-use simulation program that helps to analyze the
risks and uncertainties associated with your Microsoft Excel spreadsheet models.
Today, Crystal Ball is the tool chosen by more than 85% of the Fortune 500.
Engineers from companies like BAE Systems, Battelle, Motorola, ChevronTexaco,
Siemens AG, and Xerox all rely on Crystal Ball to manage risk, reduce
variability, and make more informed business and strategic decisions.
With increased competition, globalization, reduced resources, and staff
cutbacks, this is a challenging time for businesses. Whether you're a design,
quality, electrical, mechanical, or other engineer, your knowledge and your
toolset will make the difference between whether your project succeeds or fails.
Low-cost software and improved computing power can enable you to better
calculate the risks in your strategy or process. Crystal Ball can help you
better assess your alternatives, increase the confidence you have in planning
details, and make more informed decisions despite a lack of data or an uncertain
The Limitations of Excel
Excel is one of the most powerful modeling tools available for helping you to
define a process and frame a decision. An experienced professional can use Excel
to describe almost any given process or scenario. Yet one major limitation of
Excel is its inability to easily generate alternative outcomes, which can be
used to quantify your probability of success and to mitigate your risks. Excel
alone cannot help you to understand how variable or uncertain inputs will affect
Most Excel users handle uncertainty in the traditional way: selecting the
mean or best-guess values for the uncertain or variable inputs (e.g. costs,
demands, development times, etc...). Since Excel formatting requires a single
value per cell, modelers are forced to pick a representative value, even when
they know that the value is far from certain.
The downside of using estimated values is that it lacks any sense of
accuracy. Are you 90% likely to be under budget? Are you 70% certain to make a
profit? Will 6.4% of your assembled products be defective? Traditional modeling
methods can't determine your probability of success, nor can they pinpoint which
inputs will have the greatest impact on your forecast. Fortunately, these
crucial questions can be answered through simulation modeling with Crystal Ball.
How does Crystal Ball work?
At its most basic level, Crystal Ball performs two tasks. First, Crystal Ball
lets you define the uncertain inputs in your spreadsheet as probability
distributions, which more realistically represent the possible values of the
inputs. For example, instead of limiting a wire thickness to an average value of
0.50 mm, you can create a probability distribution (e.g., a bell curve) that
represents a range of possible thicknesses from 0.35 mm to 0.65 mm.
Second, Crystal Ball uses the defined distributions and Monte Carlo
simulation (a technique for simulating real-world situations involving elements
of uncertainty) to create thousands of possible alternative outcomes for your
model. For example, if you are simulating how tolerance will impact a new
product design, you can use Crystal Ball to generate 5000 scenarios that
represent 5000 products. By analyzing the statistics of your simulation, you can
quantity the likelihood that your new product will meet system requirements
(e.g., a 94% certainty).
Beyond those two functions, Crystal Ball includes a powerful set of
statistical and graphing tools that help you to create and present your risk
models. Crystal Ball adds its own toolbar and menus, and the output graphs,
charts, and reports are all created in native Excel formats. As an add-in
product to Excel, Crystal Ball retains all of Excel's functionality while
seamlessly adding the power of simulation, optimization, forecasting, and other
advanced risk analysis techniques.
Who's using Crystal Ball?
Crystal Ball is for anyone who uses spreadsheets and needs to forecast
uncertain results. Engineers in nearly every industry, from construction to
manufacturing to government to consulting, all rely on Crystal Ball to improve
the quality of their decision-making processes.
Primary Crystal Ball applications include tolerance analysis, cost risk
estimation, environmental cost calculations, analysis of contigency provisions,
reservoir estimation, and simulation of product design requirements and schedule
Key features of interest to your industry include sensitivity and tornado
analysis, correlation, and historical data fitting. The sensitivity analysis and
tornado analysis are two separate methods that help you to understand which of
the uncertain inputs drive the uncertainty in your engineering model.
Correlation lets you link uncertain inputs and account for their positive or
negative dependencies. If historical data does exist, the data fitting feature
will compare the data to the distribution algorithms and calculate the best
possible fit and parameters for your data.
Is Crystal Ball easy to use?
Unlike other available simulation tools, Crystal Ball earns high marks for
its ease-of-use and implementation. The graphical interface, user-friendly
toolbar, and award-winning documentation help both the statistician and the
non-statistician to quickly learn and apply Crystal Ball. With Crystal Ball, you
will have the potential of answering difficult questions in minutes with just a
few clicks of the mouse.
You can use Crystal Ball to enhance new or existing spreadsheet models, and
because Crystal Ball does not does not rely on specialized Excel functions, you
can share Crystal Ball models with other colleagues who do not have the software
installed. With single-user and network licenses available, any number of
individuals in a department or organization can use Crystal Ball. Of course, the
newest version of Crystal Ball works with the latest Windows and Microsoft
To help get you started, we ship Crystal Ball with tutorials and a selection
of example spreadsheet models. Customers who enjoy online training can purchase
our Crystal Ball training CD, and those who prefer classroom instruction can
register for one of our many regional training classes.
What other advanced tools are available?
In addition to Monte Carlo simulation, key Crystal Ball features include
distribution fitting to historic data, correlation of distributions, sensitivity
analysis, precision control of simulations, and forecast filtering. All editions
of Crystal Ball come with the seven Tools that can help speed your model
development and improve your analysis of results. For engineering, the Batch
Fit, Correlation Matrix, Tornado Chart, and Scenario Analysis tools are
particularly helpful for advanced model building and analysis.
Crystal Ball Professional Edition is a suite of software tools that includes
Crystal Ball and software for optimization, time-series forecasting, and macro
building. OptQuest, the Crystal Ball add-in for optimization, is a global
optimization tool that simultaneously runs simulations while searching for the
optimal solution for a problem. By using a combination of optimization methods
and technology that helps analyze past solutions, OptQuest converges on optimal
solutions faster and more accurately than genetic-algorithm-based optimizers.
Engineering applications for OptQuest include tolerance optimization and
CB Predictor, the time-series forecasting tool, helps you to analyze
historical data that exhibits some form of trend and/or seasonality over time (e.g.
machine failure, market demand). Using your historical data, you can extend past
trends into the future using one of eight forecasting methods or multiple linear
forecasting. The most advanced Excel users can apply the macros and functions of
the Crystal Ball and CB Predictor Developer Kits to create automated processes
and run simulations at the push of a button!
What are the benefits of using Crystal Ball?
With Crystal Ball, you will:
- No longer rely on forecasts based on misleading (average) values,
- Quickly convert your existing models into dynamic simulation tools,
Evaluate multiple strategies and outcomes in one easy process,
- Understand which inputs control the variability of your forecasts,
- Determine and reduce your risks in the planning stage, prior to a costly
- Graphically communicate potential risks to your clients, managers, or peers, and
- Stand out from your competitors by using better tools and providing a more
Once you've run a simulation, optimization, or forecast, Crystal Ball
provides you with a variety of flexible charts that help you to clearly present
your results and ideas to colleagues, managers, and clients. With expensive and
strategic decisions on the line, Crystal Ball reports can help you to
communicate the effects of uncertainty and guide the decision-making process. In
the end, a better analysis means a better-informed decision.
So...what?s the probability that you can benefit from Crystal Ball?s
simulation and analysis?