Outsourcing is normally defined as the practice of contracting with a 3rd party to address certain tasks and functions in your company operations or projects rather than hiring a new employee or assigning existing staff to those responsibilities. Outsourcing can be a valuable tool for ensuring your projects stay on course and has been successfully used by organizations for many years to help manage expansion, task completion, and technology adoption.
Today, businesses large and small across the world use outsourcing to optimize project cost, supplement available resources, gain new expertise and shorten product delivery time. With increased pressures placed on businesses in the recent economic climate, outsourcing has gained new focus for businesses looking for functional flexibility.
This has certainly become the norm in many industries for the purposes of electronic design and the engineering of electronic products. As technology becomes more advanced, it has become more common for companies to look to outsourcing when they are not able to find what they need from off-the-shelf solutions. In this article, we will explore the challenges outsourcing can help address during the development process of an electronic product.
COTS vs. Custom Solutions
COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) hardware is ready-made products and components that can come from many different vendors. These include hardware components like interface boards, temperature control assemblies, user interfaces, specialized computers, etc. COTS solutions are great for cutting development time/costs and leveraging this solution that can actually improve supportability. However, often a client prefers custom features that are not a part of the COTS offering. COTS solutions are sometimes too general-purpose, not capable of providing some of the features needed; and sometimes too feature-rich meaning your hardware may contain costly components that go unused. The design of the solution also may be mechanically unsuited for your product (too big).
Using a custom solution can provide many benefits including improved quality and lower parts cost as this solution is designed specifically to fit your product. It can also provide low production costs through upfront development. While custom development provides many benefits, it can greatly extend development time if you do not have the in-house skill or infrastructure needed. This is why many companies turn to outsourcing to develop custom solutions.
Why Should Your Company Consider Outsourcing?
- Reduce Cost
The main reason businesses look to outsourcing is the reduction in employment cost and overhead expenses with some projections showing outsourcing can reduce labor costs by up to 70%. Hiring, onboarding, and training new employees is a serious time and resource investment for businesses and management teams and can prevent a company from finding the right talent when needed.
- Save Time/Increased Efficiency
Another core advantage of outsourcing is saving time. When working with an outsourcing partner like Franklin Innovation, you are hiring a partner with years of specialized experience with niche skills that are likely not available in your local labor market. This means we can complete the job more efficiently leading to an increase in the productivity and profitability of your project. This type of outsourcing also frees up valuable internal time and resources for your company enabling your employees to focus attention on other key areas of your business.
- Savings on Technology and Infrastructure
Outsourcing also allows you to forgo the need for investment in technology and infrastructure. If you choose the right outsourcing partner, they will have established these resources and will take on this responsibility.
- Maintain Operational Control
Outsourcing can also be a helpful tool for maintaining operational control. Departments or project teams’ scope may have widened over time creating poorly managed areas of your operations. An outsourcing partner can help to alleviate part of this workload without significant restructuring of your company.
- Risk Management/Continuity
Another advantage of outsourcing is a degree of risk management and work continuity. It is common for companies to go through periods of high employee turnover, especially in the current economic climate. Outsourcing can be a source of consistency and keep your company
from falling into periods of below-optimal levels of operation when employees leave the company.
- Predictable Conclusion
Choosing to work with a reputable 3rd party contractor reduces the chances of delays or complications that would delay your project. This means companies can look to outsourcing to minimize losses and optimize development costs.
Business professionals tend to look at outsourcing as a source of cost savings, but outsourcing can provide many other advantages. As your company and offerings expand, outsourcing can be a tool used for creative problem solving and innovation, by leveraging the proven expertise of those with a long track record of success.
Outsourcing provides many advantages if you choose the right 3rd party provider. When considering how your organization may implement outsourcing, focus on the value a 3rd party contractor may add to your project through their proven expertise. If you are interested in hiring an electronic engineering design firm for your electronic needs design project, reach out to Franklin Innovation today.