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Engineering capacity constraints

Engineering capacity constraints

Engineering capacity constraints


We are a small design, manufacturing and engineering firm that produces niche market scientific instruments. Recently we have undertaken several large projects and have hired additional personnel. We are finding our selves still with capacity constraints and need help while managing our overhead. We are considering outsourcing to help in the interim. There are several companies that we can find that are out of country. Has anyone had any experience with this, both positive or negative? Any referrals (if that's allowed), or ideas?

Thanks in advance!

RE: Engineering capacity constraints

You might want to try this post in forum732: Overcoming Obstacles Getting My Work Done.

One thing with outsourcing is the protection of company intellectual property.  What type of design help are you looking for?  I would consider posting an ad on Craig's List or some other local e-board

Sr. Mechanical Engineer
SWx 2007 SP 3.0 & Pro/E 2001
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(In reference to David Beckham) "He can't kick with his left foot, he can't tackle, he can't head the ball and he doesn't score many goals. Apart from that, he's all right."  -- George Best

RE: Engineering capacity constraints

I know of several 'off shore help' cases.  They generally run the gamut from almost acceptable to disastrous.  I'm sure someone somewhere has had acceptable success but I have not seen any in that quadrant.

Problems described:
1) Mechanics of off shore payment.
2) Language confusion.
3) Work held hostage.
4) Disputes over deliverables.
5) IP protection issues which result in having to have multiple contractors that must be kept in the dark about adjacent topics.
6) Quality control.
7) Standards maintenance.
8) My personal favorite: Loss of contact.

Designing systems that take a relatively short time to develop and then you're on to the next project strike me as being better served by someone you communicate clearly with,  understands, and will adhere to IP rules, laws, and NDAs.

I can't really see an advantage to your type work being 'off-shored' unless you actually know someone you have a personal relationship with and trust.

I wonder what happens when a customer has questions about the work your company is doing, perhaps under contract. The guy with the answers is in another country 8 time zones away...   

Keith Cress
Flamin Systems, Inc.- http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Engineering capacity constraints

It sounds like you need to look into project management as well. There is a forum for that here too. Sine you didn't say where you are from it I can't answer your question about overseas engineering. I don't know which sea it is over. However, every country has a strong base of engineering design firms and contract staffing firms.

Don't forget that you suppliers can help. Maybe they can do the design work on their components or the subsystems they are in. That is how the automotive OEMs do it.

RE: Engineering capacity constraints

Depending on your workload type and complexity, you could always hire interns/co-op engineering students. We have done this with excellent success. It takes a bit more management and training initially, but the benefits are low operating costs, and you get to make a difference in a new engineer's career.

RE: Engineering capacity constraints

I work in the scientific/test and measurement world also.

Outsourcing has been disastrous both Offshore (Mindteck in India comes to mind) and in the US (Plexus technoogy group comes to mind).  I've also seen it work very successfully.
The most important thing is to find a group of engineers with product development experience similar to your own forms products.

Are you looking exclusively for mechanical work or is it combined mechanical/ee/software?

Tyler Cox
Applied Product Design, LLC
Westtown, NY 10998

RE: Engineering capacity constraints

Outsourcing to a foreign entity can be accomplished, but it requires a COMPLETE design package and requirements.

In the US, there are lots of temp services that have developed in the past decade to handle the large quantity of engineering experts who have retired and are looking only for temp work.  


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