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Outsourcing? Hold onto Your Key Engineering Talent

Posted By Jeff Moad, November 05, 2012 at 5:29 PM, in Category: The Adaptive Organization

For all the recent talk of reshoring, outsourcing continues to be central to many manufacturers' strategies for capturing customers in emerging markets and reducing operational costs.

But manufacturers who imagine that adopting an outsourcing strategy means they are free to get rid of their manufacturing engineering staffs should think again. Strong internal engineering teams are critical to ensuring that your outsourced production providers are able to deliver the quality and productivity you are looking (and paying) for.

During a recent discussion among members of the Manufacturing Leadership Council, one manufacturing executive said his company, which outsourced all production several years ago, elected to hold onto its core manufacturing and test engineering teams. And those teams, he said, have become a critical asset, closely evaluating every aspect of the company's outsourcing providers' operations. Based on studies of outsourcing providers around the world, the teams have assembled a document that spells out manufacturing standards to be used by outsourcers. The document covers everything from cell layout to production and test equipment that must be used. And the teams are able to monitor test results in real time, spotting quality breakdowns before they ever reach customers. So effective have their efforts been that, in one case, the outsourcer agreed to increase its warranty coverage period by 300%, based on improved quality.

If your company has outsourced, have you made it a point to hold onto your core engineering resources?

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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