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Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

I'm weighing hiring a drafter.  Also looking into outsourcing drafting to India or other such low labor cost source.  Any experience or helpful information?

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

It shouldn't be hard to find an unemployed drafter right in your neighborhood.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

I remember one of my old jobs was looking at outsourcing to the Philippines for drafting work.  The principals were not impressed with the sample work.

I would assume the second you post that on craigslist you will find lots of eager cheap people to draft for you.

Civil Development Group, LLC
Los Angeles Civil Engineering specializing in Hillside Grading

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

Sorry, 'Outsource'

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

If you outsource to Aisa, you will be playing ping-pong across opposite sides of the clock.  That alone can be very time-consuming for even the smallest changes.

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

I work for a company doing Outsourced work (drafting, design, engineering etc.) for a major aerospace company. It can work, but the client needs to give the outsourcing company time to get up to speed and needs to work with them to develope the capacity to do the work. This is one reason I was brought on, to reduce the work the client needed for checking drawings etc. For the OP's situation, the suggestion to hire a local drafter, designer or possible a engineer who is out of work would be the best solution I could think of at this time.

Peter Stockhausen
Senior Design Analyst (Checker)
Infotech Aerospace Services

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

CAD by remote control is not entirely efficient, but certainly possible, we routinely have stuff drawn in Detroit or Frankfurt, for example. However for large projects co-location is far more efficient.

I tried outsourcing a small job to India, taking a solid model that was the output of an optimisation process and then redrafting it using standard sections. I estimated it would take me 8 hours.

The quotes that came in varied from $1.50 per hour, duration unknown, to $15 per hour, 40 hours.

It was apparent that I would spend at least 4 hours discussing and revising the job.

So I did it myself in 4 hours(probably I was so quick because I'd been thinking about it so much during the foregoing).

There are good CAD guys in India. But the infrastructure to support a random cheap good CAD guy in India is missing.

I believe on the basis of a little experience that the most likely path to success would be for the outsourcing company to have a very experienced designer /manager in both countries, and then a bunch of cubicles inhabited by basement dwellers in India. The designer/mamnager would work very closely with the American engineers, the designer/manager in India would talk to him and the Indian designers continuously. Not sounding especially cheap any more.


Greg Locock

I rarely exceed 1.79 x 10^12 furlongs per fortnight

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

Go ahead and outsource it....next someone will outsource you.

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

Oh I think in the long term it is inevitable that most drafting will be outsourced to some extent, just as engineering is (and long has been) in the automotive business. The day when you could maintain a fully manned engineering development facility and balance the workflow in and out are long gone. I used to work at a proving ground where it was quite likely that I wouldn't see another car for 4 hours, now it has traffic lights. You might struggle to see why it is efficient to have Australian development engineers working on a car that is designed and built in Germany on a program for the Chinese market, but that is exactly how it works.

If you don't do it you don't have a profitable business.


Greg Locock

I rarely exceed 1.79 x 10^12 furlongs per fortnight

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

My first "real" job while going to college was as a draftsman... I had a lot of fun doing it, but the pay was not what I had hoped for (good for you).  Talk to your local high school drafting teacher (plenty of schools still have these programs) and see if they have kept in touch with any recent grads who were top notch... a good teacher can at least give you a few names.  I don't know what the going rate is, but I imagine something in the low 10s/hr ($15/hr?) would be on par...

Dan - Owner

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

Well speaking as someone who owns a design company in the UK, you will get the best results if you work with the company and build up a relationship.

You will certainly be able to get better rates by going into Asia or Eastern Europe, but that will create extra work.

Almost certainly if you just throw the job to the cheapest quote you will get rubbish, wherever you send it too.

Basically it all boils down to how much time and effort you want to spend balanced against the amount of work you will outsource and the savings that will offer.

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

It would be best to assume the first few jobs will take more time that it would to do it yourself. You would be investing your time training the contractor in what you want. At some point you would start to see a return.

Peter Stockhausen
Senior Design Analyst (Checker)
Infotech Aerospace Services

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

Peter makes a good point.  You need to establish a relationship with your source.  You can not proceed as if buying drafting services was like buying a ton of pork bellies.

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

So right before you sign the job with your client on the way over to pick up, you notice a typo error.  Can't exactly go into the next room and have it fixed in a matter of minutes if you have outsourced.   

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

Since I worked as an intern (for pay) for three and a half years prior to going full time (upon graduation), I say find a local university, post a job offer and interview some folks.

With the crazy 4 block schedule my high school went to my last three years, I had the equivalent of 7 years of drafting instruction out of High School and a College Prep/Vocational diploma to prove it.

Starting at Georgia Tech, I wasn't looking for a job and was studying mechanical engineering.

A guy I used to bale hay for asked me to come in and interview with his company and here I am almost 11 years later working as a Professional Engineer with a structural background ten feet from the seat I had as an intern.

I think I started at $9/hour. I trained my peers and my replacement several times as I went from draftsman to designer to engineer.

SO, I say, go the intern/local part-timer route and see what you find. If I was half as productive now as I was then, I would be cruising through life. What a difference having a phone number makes! Blah!


RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?


   I do not know how drafting and detailing works in your world.  In my world, I strongly prefer to do my own drawings.  I would subcontract the design of sub-assemblies, and I would expect the designer to do his own fabrication drawings.

   There is a general issue with all documentation in that you write something out or draw it up carefully.  This gives you a clearer picture of what you are doing, and you realize you are doing something wrong.  Your documentation process feeds back into your design, unless the documenter has no clue of what you are designing.

   Are you sure you want this done out of house?  If you cannot do this yourself, you want it done by someone whose shoulder you can look over whenever you want.   


RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

We tried outsourcing checking and redline incorporation (drafting) of some projects and it didnt' work.  This was just to an Indiana based firm (we're in CA) but they had offices abroad that they planned to use if our volume got big enough.

It did not work.  Various reasons why.  In part we didn't put enough effort in, both the manufacturing and design services manager wanted to be fairly hands off and the manufacturing manager (whose budget it was) was too busy anyway to be more involved.  I deliberately kept hands off as I already had too much to do, I initially tried to be more involved up front but really didn't have the time and quickly came to realize another issue...

The other issue was they were trying to use the cheapest possible labor, understandably.  However, this showed in the quality of their work.  They even tried billing us for essentially training someone to do the checking despite the efforts we'd made up front to make sure they had suitably qualified staff.  Part of these efforts had involved blowing apart the resumes of their supposed checkers that clearly weren't qualified and many of whome had errors on their resumes, or outright lies.

So it didn't work for us, partly because we didn't have the time to put into making it work, partly because I'm not sure the folks we tried to deal with were, shall we say, a good fit.

By the way, I had a thread about outsourcing checking when this first came up, may have some nuggets for you.  thread1103-216008: Outsourcing Checking

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RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

KENAT do you think the results would have been any better if you had hired extra staff and possibly brought in new hardware and software?

I would assume everything else would be the same namely no relevant parties would want to (have the spare time) to be involved and you went for the cheapest option available.

RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

ajack, based on experience of doing just that, yes the results were better.  

It's maybe a slight apples to oranges comparison but a little while after my original thread the whole 'no bodies in the office' thing was relented and we got in 2 very experienced contract checkers for a while (the first was recommended by our previous checker, he in turn recommended the second guy).  It wasn't perfect, again if I had been able to spend a bit more time with them up front I think it could have been better/more efficient but we muddled though a lot better.

I think having them there prompts you to interface more actively.  Also, knowing how much they were charging was I think a bit of an incentive to make the best use of them.  I think the biggest single difference was they were far better qualified/experienced than the staff the outsource place was trying to use.

I'm more than willing to accept much of the problems in both ways were ours, not necessarily fundamental insurmountable problems.

However, I think it does highlight that in most cases trying to outsource takes effort in itself, and you need to be sure of the payback.  Sure, you might be able to get rid of say 3 drafters, but you might have to get 1 project manager to oversee it liaise etc.  In some cases this may pay off, in others it may not.

As to your point about "want to (spare time)" I will be honest and admit I was skeptical of the idea.  Most of the responses to my thread didn't make me any more confident (although it did get sidetracked a little).  However, I did make quite a bit of effort in the early stages, working in the evenings, to try and make it work.  I wrote up some 'ground rules' of what we wanted done and how to handle it, trying to make sure they had our relevant company standards & procedures etc.  Unfortunately finding the time to pursue this in the office was more challenging.  My boss got on my back about being too controlling & needing to let things go, so I let this one go as supposedly he and the manufacturing manager would take care of it.

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RE: Outsouce Drafting Any Success?

Contract a local, just as other suggested.  Many in the Asian continent are not familiar with standards (American or international); heck, many Americans aren't all that familiar...but at least you can hold them accountable in a US court of law if it comes down to that.

Matt Lorono
Lorono's SolidWorks Resources & SolidWorks Legion


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