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to make outsourcing a successful
Over the years Resource: Engineering, Inc. has worked on a wide variety of projects with clients from coast to coast. Usually the experience was positive. A few did not turn out as hoped for, either by the client or by us. The projects on which we experienced problems got me to thinking about how and why this happened. What could be done to fix the problems?
There were two major factors that all the problem jobs had in common. The first was "ownership" of the project. The second was lack of communication between the client and our staff.
In some cases a client seemed to feel that once they sent us the plans, their involvement was over--sort of a "simply send the plans, wait a few weeks, and out comes a completed set of drawings with all the issues identified, all the problems solved and all details exactly the way they and the shop liked them" scenario. Unfortunately that's seldom, if ever, the case. In order for a project to be successful, both ownership and communication must be present. This is not to say that these are the only two things which need be present, but when either of these is missing, poor results are almost certain.
Any time you subcontract or "outsource" work, you tend to lose some control; that's natural. However, you can minimize the loss of control by how you think about and treat the subcontractor. A good supplier will try hard to learn your preferences and methods. But unless the subcontractor is someone who's worked in your office, chances are that they aren't going to know how your company does everything.
The customer who thinks of the sub as someone who's going to do a job without any interaction with the customer will soon be disappointed. The customer must assign an in-house contact person for each project to answer questions about drafting standards, construction methods, standard manufacturing preferences, preferred hardware, scope issues, inconsistencies in the construction and design documents, and more. This contact person must have responsibility within the customer's company for the outcome of the project (at least from the engineering standpoint). He or she must understand that even though they may be spending time answering questions and tracking down information, in the long run they are saving time by getting the project drawn correctly the first time.
We take great pride in cultivating a long, productive relationship with each of our clients. This collaborative effort between customer and vendor is what has made Resource: Engineering, Inc., successful over the years.