We have looked on a number of occasions to outsource our engineering efforts abroad. What are your experiences with it?

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Hi David,

In not so past life, experience was when developing core software features with new hardware platform, the core design had to be tightly held, while off-shoring some Q&A and other worked well to scale. So it was mixed. In another episode with 3D CAD modeling, the specifications had to be very tight and a lot of time spent managing, otherwise with any slight data gaps resulted in cost overrun. A local group of college mechanical engineering students in one situation did a better job on time and cost and were able to work around data gaps more creatively with the client.


I have had mixed experiences with fabricated mechanical dampers, structural ductwork/supports, and hydraulic systems. The biggest issues were experience level and communication. When the project was a "same as - but" where I could take a reference package and mark it up it went good. When it took some deeper understanding there where issues. If it was done in house, I could monitor things daily but when outsource I had to relay on them to ask questions and wait until I had drawings to check. Sometimes the drawings have problems because incorrect assumptions were made without asking questions. This cost us in time if not dollars.

Before starting my own firm, I grew an engineering department from 8 to 22 members in two years. I used small US and Canada firms (1-15 to members) to supplement design and drafting in addition to training internal members. Some pointers I can give you are the following:
- Provide a clear scope of work.
- Be sure the person who actually does the work is experienced. I have had vastly different output from the same firm for the same type of work because they gave it to a different person.
- Ask for fixed price structure which should possible if the scope is clear.
- Be clear that corrections, errors and ommission from their work are fixed are at their expense.
- Always ask for an estimate for additional work before adding it on.
- Ask to see work inprocess instead of only one package at the end to avoid surprises.
- Tie final payment to getting a full set of corrected documents in original native format. I had one firm submit PDF and wouldn't give me the AutoCAD files.
- Be flexiable. I worked with one firm that did work for us for 6 years and we changed to just hourly billing because I knew that I got a good hour of work from them.

Hope this helps.

Donald Gabriel
Hi David,

I am currently ousourcing my drawings work and so far the performance is very good. I am getting drawings mostly for structural work. I tried American and Canadian firm but they are all very busy and I could not get the drawings in time, but the person I am currently using in India is very prompt and gives me my project on time and my clients are happy about it. So I will say I am saving money and getting good service too.

Hope this helps.

Hello all,

Am a Masters in Engineering with CAD/CAM specialization. I have 5yrs of experience in AutoCAD & Pro/E. Also am experienced in hydraulics.
I am interested to take up CAD tasks. I have a team of 9 members who are experienced in CAD/CAM tools like Pro/E, Unigraphics NX, CATIA V5 and solidworks.
Kindly let me know if anyone is willing to offload the CAD tasks to India.
Further details could be informed on demand.

I am staring a design and engineering firm of my own in Colombia, and was thinking of offering our excess capacity to clients in the US. I have found very well trained personal here, they are not at cheap as India but they have relatively good English and work in EST time zone. Which means that with today's tools you could monitor them almost as if you where looking over their shoulders. I received my degree in the US racked up ten years in technology development, creating engineering teams form scratch at several companies like MFG and Formulatrix, and with experience in companies like Lucent Bell Labs and Heweltt Packard I am confident that I can provide a high level of service to US base companies in need of a helping hand.

I want to hear your thoughts, what I've found is encouraging.

Hi there

I am a mechanical designer with a Canadian engineering firm & I have worked on both sides of the outsourcing fence.. My experience has been that many companies do not put together a complete specification. As a result, they may be expecting a Ford but get a Chev. From my point of view "data gaps" is a nice way of saying "guess what we want" Further, pick an engineering company based on they're experience in the field you work in.
Finally, set milestones. & review

In summary:
Put together a definitive specification It may take more time up front but it is well worth it .
Find some one who has some related experience.
Set Milstones, review earlier & often
Go to www.admse.com
Here a reaction from the Netherlands.

I own an engineering company and i have bad experience with cad work in India. The companies over there are growing very fast and so the people are changing jobs fast. So every time you get new people with there own style.
rather cost and time consuming job.
we have tried to find companies in texas, india and japan for the engineering and testing and commissioning for a big gas sweeting plant. eventually we could avoid a desaster. know how from texas was based on very small units with no experiance on large, japaneese could not make vessel desing acc to asme code, and indian had difficulties to convert their design from german codes to ANSI/ASME too.
Hi David,

I just joined EX today. I'm into Supply Chain Management, doing it for the past few years and have managed to develop a few customers from Ireland and the US. My Key suppliers are from Penang, Malaysia and would be able to support most Major machining (CNC Milling, Turn/Mill, CNC Turning, etc), Aluminium Die Castings & Extrusions, Metal Works, Secondary Operations like Plating (Anodising, E-Polish, Hard Chrome, EN, Chromating, etc.), Heat Treatment, Powder Coat Painting and other related Engineering stuff.

I'm more than glad to share some of my experiences to any of the EX members and more than happy to answer any questions that you may have for me. I can be contacted at +6012 477 3131 (mobile), Skype: penangkaki or email: johnny.chinkeat@gmail.com.

Last but not least, here's wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, 2009.

Warmest regards from,
Johnny Ho - HCK Technology & Information Services
My company, The Technology Consortium, Ltd. is a worldwide supplier of Engineering Services as well as equipment and fabrications. We typically determine utilizing international sources (vs. Domestic) based on two factors. First, is the Cost of the services the driving factor? Alternatively, is responsiveness, quality and agility (Being able to comprehend and adjust to changes) the prime consideration? (We find it is rare to have 100% of both)
Once we are able to commit to this criterion, the only thing left to consider is what company can you trust to protect, preserve, and promote your reputation...
While there are many international companies who provide both low cost and high quality, the time difference (+ 11 1/2 hours from EST to India) and language barriers do sometimes present "Interesting" challenges. Especially since there are still many domestic sources of high quality, low cost services. This is particularly true in the current economic climate where pricing has become more competitive with international sources.
The Technology Consortium, Ltd. (aka TTC) is a company based on the fundamental of high quality at a fair price. Whether we supply from domestic or international sources, at TTC, We Manufacture Solutions…
We specialize in equipment, services, and system solutions that Exceed your project quality requirements, reduce your manufacturing and equipment expenditures, and are provided as specified, and on time. Our teams give you the most creative and cost effective solutions…
TTC is an alliance of engineering and manufacturing specialists in many diverse industries. We provide designs, equipment, and expertise utilizing the latest technologies, and manufacturing techniques. We are able to assist you in all phases and capacities of your project. We offer conceptualization, scope definition, design, engineering, facilities automation and simulation, project execution, equipment, installation, start-up and plant commissioning.
Please visit our website at http://www.4TTC.net for details on the capabilities of The Technology Consortium, Ltd.
Thank you for allowing me to interject my "Commercial" into your topic...
Best Regards,
Hi David,
I have no experience with outsourcing abroad. I have had the opportunity with design and fabrication but chose to share it we companies in U.S. However, I am also bias about this subject. I would like to see all jobs, especially technical ones, stay here in the United States. I understand it is difficult to compete with manufacturing companies abroad. But technical jobs, we could be very competitive here. I think our talent pool is second to none. All of us are aware of the growing unemployment rate in the U.S. We as entrepreneurs, need the work to create jobs for our fellow professionals in these tough financial times.

I am the founder and top management of a engineering and design service. If you know anyone who is looking for
a design service that is flexible with cost without sacrificing true customer service or quality. We would be happy to share our ideas.

John Espinoza
Hi David,
Read the Outsourcing articles in the January issue of Design World magazine. I think you will find them extremely interesting and will answer your questions. Also, contact William Sinn, a member of this Engineering Exchange. He is in the business of connecting US with Chinese companies. He will answer your questions.
John R. Gyorki
Editorial Director
Design World Magazine

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