HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Guest Blogs

What Could Go Wrong When Outsourcing Product Development?

NO RATINGS
Page 1 / 2 Next >
View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
William K.
User Rank
Platinum
What could go wrong? A series of fatal errors could be made
William K.   4/8/2014 10:10:32 AM
NO RATINGS
I used to work for a company that decided that instead of developing a new product in house, we should have it designed and developed by an outside organization. We made a fatal error in not adequately understanding exactly what the product had to deliver. The outside supplier made a fatal error in selecting components that were not only more expensive but much harder to calibrate. We made another fatal error by submitting this product to our potential customer, who committed the most deadly of the fatal errors by not adequately testing the prototype, and then telling us that it did meet their requirements. We made another fatal error by believeing him, and going into production, and winding up with a production run of devices that were very difficult to calibrate, and impossible to calibrate adequately. \

The only good side is that we learned quite a bit, and that the replacement product that was designed and built in house met all of the customers requirements and was a success. 

Unfortunately the company died a terrible death at the hands of the bankers. Not even bankruptcy, since the company assets were worth far less than the amount the bank was owed.

Brian Terhune
User Rank
Blogger
Re: What could go wrong? A series of fatal errors could be made
Brian Terhune   4/9/2014 11:38:08 AM
NO RATINGS
I'm sorry to hear about your past outsourcing experience. Many of the items listed in your comment are classic mistakes.  Unfortunately, they aren't uncommon in the industry, however not all outsourced projects end up this way.  Well defined processes protect against these pitfalls, and when employed lead to a successful development outcome.  Hopefully, if the need arises again, your next outsourcing experience will be greatly improved.  Best of luck.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: What could go wrong? A series of fatal errors could be made
William K.   4/9/2014 3:41:13 PM
NO RATINGS
Brian, if we had been smart enough to avoid all of those mistakes we would have been smart enough to understand that the job should have been done in house. Another mistake that was part of the same project was purchasing a really junk laser diode package from Digikey, when a pre-aligned laser package that included the driver circuit was available from another company, for $2 per unit less money. Plus, purchasing the bore-sited units cut almost two hours out of the setup time.

Pubudu
User Rank
Platinum
Re: What could go wrong? A series of fatal errors could be made
Pubudu   4/14/2014 1:44:25 AM
NO RATINGS
Brian great article with a lot of insight. Actually, this can be used as a guideline for outsourcing the production.

Debera Harward
User Rank
Silver
Re: What could go wrong? A series of fatal errors could be made
Debera Harward   4/10/2014 4:05:33 PM
NO RATINGS
William, the issues that you mentioned usually can occur while outsourcing product development and it is no doubt one of the most crucial step. Organisations should give clear guide lines about the product , raw material and each and every detail of the product instead of asking the outsourcing team to enter directly into development .

Debera Harward
User Rank
Silver
Re: What could go wrong? A series of fatal errors could be made
Debera Harward   4/10/2014 4:22:18 PM
NO RATINGS
No doubt outsourcing has benefits as well like it helps the organisation to be in good financial position by eliminating the assets from the balance sheet and have more stable cash flow , resources can be redirected to core operations , Organisation can think innovtely without having the hassel of production and so on .

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: What could go wrong? A series of fatal errors could be made
William K.   4/10/2014 9:03:04 PM
NO RATINGS
D.H. I hope that some others can avoid a lot of grief by noting the failures that we had. It is certainly vital that the description of the results be defined exactly before turning any design contactors loose. That includes an exact description of outputs as well.

Of course, a real part of the problem was that it was our core area that was being sent out. Atleast it was my core area, which since I was the new engineer the rest did not fully understand my ablities. And who is willing to tell a boss "no" when he claims that you have more important things to do?

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: What could go wrong? A series of fatal errors could be made
William K.   4/10/2014 9:03:12 PM
NO RATINGS
D.H. I hope that some others can avoid a lot of grief by noting the failures that we had. It is certainly vital that the description of the results be defined exactly before turning any design contactors loose. That includes an exact description of outputs as well.

Of course, a real part of the problem was that it was our core area that was being sent out. Atleast it was my core area, which since I was the new engineer the rest did not fully understand my ablities. And who is willing to tell a boss "no" when he claims that you have more important things to do?

Ceylon0
User Rank
Silver
What me worry?
Ceylon0   4/8/2014 1:58:59 PM
NO RATINGS
What could go wrong..... just ask the customer service people at most of the companies that outsourced their development!

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
OUTSOURCING PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
bobjengr   4/14/2014 6:39:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Brian--Excellent post.  I own a consulting engineering firm developing work cells to automate manufacturing processes.  The GREATEST problem we have is understanding what the client wants and needs.  What is the desired end result?  Early communication to develop specifications is absolutely critical to any project including product development projects.  Time spent developing these specs can save a great deal of agony.  I am constantly amazed that some (maybe not most) clients really do not know what they want and certainly do not know how to express needs even if they know them.  I can't tell you the times we have "changed horses in mid-stream."  Very time consuming, costly and generally causes significant delays in schedule.   I might add--always get the specifications in writing with the client signing a document approving the specifications. DON'T BEGIN UNLESS YOU HAVE PROPER-SIGNED DOCUMENTS STATING WHAT IS NEEDED. 

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Guest Blogs
More often than not, with the purchase of a sports car comes the sacrifice of any sort of utility. In other words, you can forget about a large trunk, extra seats for the kids, and more importantly driving in snowy (or inclement) weather. But what if there was a vehicle that offered the best of both worlds; great handling and practicality?
As additive manufacturing (including 3D printing) becomes increasingly popular among businesses as a quick and easy solution to creating and evaluating prototypes and end-use products, the debate about whether to outsource production or to purchase equipment for in-house use is at the forefront of industry discussions.
With increasing terrorist threats overseas, organizations are thinking about how best to defend themselves here and abroad. Engineering can play a role, especially when it comes to putting a barrier between yourself and the bad guys.
Time to market is everything, but at the same time, you can’t sacrifice quality for speed. That’s where additive manufacturing comes into play.
In the last few years, use of CFD in building design has increased manifolds. Computational fluid dynamics is effective in analyzing the flow and thermal properties of air within spaces. It can be used in buildings to find the best measures for comfortable temperature at low energy use.
Design News Webinar Series
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Nov 3 - 7, Engineering Principles behind Advanced User Interface Technologies
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: 10/28-10/30 11:00 AM
Sponsored by Stratasys
Next Class: 10/28-10/30 2:00 PM
Sponsored by Gates Corporation
Next Class: 11/11-11/13 2:00 PM
Sponsored by Littelfuse
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service