A Case for Offsite Design in 2019

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Offsite designers, whether a single designer or a remote design team, have become a viable and legitimate tool for Component Manufacturers (CM’s) looking to gain an edge in their markets. In this, CM’s are following in the footsteps of the silicon valley startups that quickly realized that if you are performing your work on a computer and have an internet connection, you can perform that work anywhere.

I want to ask specifically, what are the advantages of utilizing an offsite design team?

Increased Talent Selection

We all know how hard it is to find the right person to hire. If you are limited to who you find locally or who is willing to relocate then that selection process becomes even more difficult. With offsite design, the available talent increases dramatically. How will you utilize these resources and find hidden talent?

Increased Capacity

I can’t tell you how many conversations I have with CM’s who are leaving quotes on the table because they are too busy finalizing designs for production. A quote is a potential sale. A sale is revenue next month, or next year. Quotes untouched typically don’t wait around, they go find someone who has time for them. That is revenue walking out of the door and over to your competitor.

What if you had the means to tap in? An offsite design service is specially equipped to be leveraged by a CM. What if you could send 10 quotes a week to an offsite design team to design while you worked on sending trusses out to already paying customers? What would the impact be for you?

Increased Control

I bet you didn’t think I would say this. Many think that with remote designers you lack control merely because you can’t stand behind their desk and micro-manage them. Or if they have a question that you won’t be able to help them. In reality, a well setup relationship with a vetted design service, with design standards in place, is as much under your control as the team under your roof. With screen sharing technology, communication tools, and virtual desktops you might as well be in the same room. With employees, you are obligated to pay them (plus payroll taxes, plus benefits) whether or not they have work to do or are productive. And let’s face it, it is difficult to sever ties with an employee. With an offsite design team, workflow can be adjusted as needed, which when you pay by the job is also the means to control costs. Performance can be measured easily, and the relationship can be ended if it’s not found to be beneficial.

As you read this, don’t think I’m dehumanizing people. I absolutely believe in the freedom and dignity of all persons. However, the expectations of an employee vs. an offsite design team are different. An employee often comes into a company thinking he is getting a “job” which has “tasks” that he has to perform. A design team is an actual business, and the focus of the business is service. Service to you! If you are not served then that design team has failed. CM’s should be able to control their product and if a service is not performing well, and you have worked with them to get them up to speed to no avail, then the CM should be able to sever ties with that design service easily.

Increased Duration of Work

If designers are located in multiple time zones, then you start to create a design team where a part of it is always working. The concept here is similar to a machining shop that programs their production equipment before the weekend and then walks away with one person on call. No one is there, but the equipment produces in their absence. We had a designer who was located in the same time zone, but he preferred to work at night. He would maintain enough overlap with our clients and us for necessary communication, but beyond that he just produced. An offsite design team that has designers across multiple time zones will offer this same advantage.

Will You Be Proactive?

While there are many more advantages I want to ask this question. Will you plan ahead and prepare for the onslaught of quotes and designs in the summer? Or will you wait and reach out to a service like hours while sales walk out the door to your competitor. Be proactive. Reach out and schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with us today!

Stay tuned this time next week for our post discussing setup fees and design costs.

Tim Hoke

General Manager – Gould Design, Inc.

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