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Outsourcing Your Engineering

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 7:45am
Amanda Earing, News Editor

When most people hear the word ‘outsourcing’ it often brings a negative stigma to workers. Outsourcing, to some, means job cuts and work sent overseas where labor costs are cheaper. But Larry Gach, President, Redpoint Engineering, points out numerous benefits to outsourcing engineering work that doesn’t result in job cuts or projects lost to foreign competitors -- a win-win for all.

Outsourcing your engineering can free up your in-house engineering department to focus on other projects, and saves time and money. According to Gach, some benefits to outsourcing your engineering work include:

1. Some engineering specialties are not central to a particular company’s core business. It makes more sense to outsource this occasional need than to hire for it.
2. Load balancing. Outsourcing part of the workload levels the peaks and valleys and stabilizes the permanent staff.
3. An outsource team typically has more skills and available resources than an “in-house” jack of all trades.

“Outsourcing engineering jobs almost always results in net increase of business to the outsourcing company. More business means more jobs,” says Gach.

Gach also points out that in his experience the lower cost of doing business via outsourcing has resulted in companies doing some projects that were not previously economically viable. As a result, the total volume of work increases.

And, adds Gash, outsourcing engineering jobs can also speed up business. By working with outsourced engineers, manufacturers will find they no longer have to wait till a project goes to market before engineers can work on designing a new product. With multiple engineers, both in-house and outsourced, manufacturers can bring more products to market more quickly.

Gach also notes that engineering departments working on projects with an outsourced engineering firm allows creative benefits and improves problem solving. “Outsourcing the work can bring fresh perspective to old problems,” he says.

For complex, specialty engineering projects, manufacturers will find many engineering firms are now doing more work by ad hoc teams of specialists. Gach says this allows you to get the highest quality resources in one place.

“Every product development requires a different mix of engineering skills and specialties. Using outsource teams allows the client to form the right team for each project and not over staff internally due to the level and mix that was needed for past projects,” says Gach.

For manufacturers looking to outsource engineering work, it is important to look at multiple proposals from engineering companies and make sure the engineering firm you choose has an extensive quality control process. The more hands-on the process is and the more reviews that are done, the better.

Gach advises that whether a project is done in-house or outsourced, manufacturers need to make sure the work is well-defined, with well-defined deliverables.

Larry Gach, President of Redpoint Engineering, has over 40 years experience in mechanical engineering, manufacturing and project management. For more information, visit www.red-pt.com

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