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Challenges of Engineering Outsourcing

Let’s pose an important question at the beginning of this article: what are the challenges of engineering outsourcing? In the past several years, engineering outsourcing has seen unprecedented growth worldwide, as many of the world’s most competitive engineering companies have decided to outsource engineering services to meet their different needs. This holds true both for companies who work with in-house engineers as well as firms that, even from the very start, have decided to outsource.

The bad news? There are challenges to engineering outsourcing, though, that companies need to address. The good news? Certainly, there are ways to overcome these challenges. Read on.

  1. Cultural Differences

When a company has finally decided to outsource engineering staff, that company will be closely working with electrical engineers, civil design engineers, architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, etc. from different countries—that’s just the way it is.

As such, your outsourced engineering staff will most probably have a different culture from you and the in-house employees that share your company. Needless to say, this might lead to a bit of misunderstanding—which is natural. But what can you do?

One of the biggest steps is to help your outsourced engineering staff familiarize themselves with your company’s culture so that problems, if any, can be addressed moving forward. This is an adjustment on the part of the outsourcing company and its staff, but your in-house staff should also adapt as well—make sure that your staff has done initial research on the culture of their outsourced colleagues, no matter which country they hail from, in order to avoid misunderstandings and disagreements.

  1. There Will Be, at the Very Least, Reduced Control

If and when you decide to tap the services of an outsourcing company to bring in a remote team of engineers, these engineering professionals that you are going to work with will, most probably, not be under the company’s control 100%. And this is natural—your in-house firm won’t have as much influence over these outsourced engineers as you would if they were working under your own engineering department.

But there are ways around this. To ensure that you still have control over your outsourced engineers, make sure that you are working with a reputable engineering-outsourcing company that’s trustworthy. A reputable outsourcing vendor will ensure open communication lines between you and your outsourced engineering team so that you can be updated on a day-to-day basis concerning important tasks and projects.

  1. You Might Be Locked into a Contract

And this doesn’t seem that bad at all—running your own business, surely you understand. A lot of the outsourcing vendors providing engineering services mostly require their prospective clients to sign long-term contracts. Others, meanwhile, might ask you to spend a fixed amount for their services. Why? Well, these outsourcing vendors are fully cognizant that they are saving you loads of money in the long run. But as with everything, there is something that can be done. Before even signing a contract with any outsourcing company that you are looking to tap for outsourced engineers, make sure that you choose one that won’t tie you to a disadvantageous long-term contract.

  1. You Can Cause Some of Your In-House Engineers to Become Disgruntled

This is not something that should come as a surprise, because any in-house employee who sees his or her company taking on outsourced staff will naturally feel threatened and disgruntled. And while we’re specifically talking about the challenges of engineering outsourcing in this article, we’re not only talking about engineering staff in particular but also about everyone in general, regardless of position.

So what is the solution for this, you might ask? The first solution is to select an outsourcing vendor that will gladly help you handle the outsourcing process in a way that your in-house staff’s morale will not be affected. The second solution (this second solution can be done in conjunction with the first one as well) would be by talking to your in-house staff, and to let them know and understand that while the company has gone the outsourcing route, that their jobs will not be affected. With this second option, though, the ball is on your court—you’ve promised your in-house employees that they will get to keep their jobs even if you’ve decided to outsource, so it’s your responsibility to keep your word, or else it’s the company’s loss.

  1. And the Last Challenge of Engineering Outsourcing: Finding the Right Engineering Staff That Are the Right Fit

With successful engineering outsourcing, it is imperative to have a high level of understanding between you and the outsourcing vendor. So before deciding on an outsourcing firm to work with, you should find out first if the vendor—and, eventually, the outsourced engineering staff that will end up working with your business—will be a good fit. This might be stating the obvious, but do your research first—find out how reputable the outsourcing company is. You can do a deep dive later in the process by asking around; ask people who have had experience working with the vendor that you are looking to work with.

Conclusion

Indeed, engineering outsourcing, when planned well, can give you immeasurable benefits. Consider the challenges of engineering outsourcing posted here in this blog post, as well as the solutions given, in order to give your company a leg up on the competition.

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