Los Angeles -Companies that need additional engineering resources can now tap a global talent pool, thanks to a new service started by MSC.Software, the analysis software firm.
Called the Engineering Exchange, the service offers the skills of nearly 700 design, analysis, and production experts. "Manufacturers are trying to run lean and mean, and they often don't have staff to handle peak loads," notes Rob Swette, director of Marketing and Business Development for MSC's Engineering E-Commerce Group. "That's why engineering services has become a $4 billion annual business."
To help clients to find consultants fast, Engineering Exchange has developed templates covering project needs in analysis, mechanical design, software development, test, and production methods. These templates include such factors as: project description, objectives, budget, milestones, nondisclosure requirements, types of software files to be created, engineering standards and codes, and desired deliverables.
"Clients tell us that the search for engineering outsourcing help that used to take them a month can now be accomplished in a couple days," says Swette.
So far, more than 200 companies have used the service. They pay $500 per project, plus some hourly fees for ancillary services-or they can pay an annual fee of $12,500 for a gold membership that covers unlimited outsourcing projects. The latter program is recommended for companies that typically contract for $100,000 or more of engineering services a year. Gold clients also get an MSC account manager who assists them in tracking the return on investment for each project.
An Online Meeting Tool allows clients to share control of software applications with their consultants, and a Message Board maintains a running log of questions and answers on key aspects of the project.
MSC keeps an online background file on all consultants affiliated with the exchange, as well as links to their websites. Also posted on the site: evaluations by client and consultant following completed projects.
To learn more, visit www. engineering-e.com or call: 1-888-817-ECOM. MSC is also promoting the service on the Autodesk website.