in reply to Geometric Optimisation and Perl
This can actually be big business. When I was in school I had a Prof who was well known for design optimization. Incredible guy knew 5 languages, one of those guys who are scary smart.
Well he always said that you can take any company that has not been optimized and optimize them by at least 20%. From an Engineering standpoint (Civil/Mechanical) this is an incredible cost savings when you are dealing with volumes or high dollar items.
He had a friend who would go to companies and offer to optimize them. His basic offer was. I will optimize your process by X %. If I succeed I will get the X% for the first year and you will then keep the difference from that point on. His friend only worked one job a year and vacationed around the world the rest of the time.