Computer modeling saves P&G money, time

is increasingly relying on computer modeling to design its products, with company officials claiming huge savings in the amount of time it takes to bring products to market.

By modeling products like shampoo bottles and diapers virtually, the company can test out designs and packaging without spending money on physically producing each test item. Eighty percent of the company's initiatives now use computer modeling and simulation, said Scott Hagen, P&G's virtual solutions service manager, in a recent interview with .

The technology saves the company millions in research and development, according to Paul Fox, a P&G spokesman. Earlier this year, Fox told about P&G's 3D baby, a virtual infant that was used to test around 100 virtual models of diapers. When the real diaper was released, the company did it 10 months ahead of schedule.

"It can cost [US]$10,000 to $25,000 to physically build a model in the store and take six to eight weeks," Fox told the Courier. "With virtual, it takes hours at a fraction of the cost."

And 3D modeling doesn't just apply to product development. P&G is taking it to retailers. By virtually modeling a store, the company can show retailers options on how to modify an aisle or display to see gains in sales.

Although P&G has not commented on the actual sales gains, Hagen did say there was a marked difference. "Virtualization allows P&G to present [retailers] three times as many options as before," Hagan told . "Retailers definitely see a sales lift."