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Have You Chosen the Right CAD Drafting Outsourcing Company?

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Have You Chosen the Right CAD Drafting Outsourcing Company?
As CAD outsourcing experiences exponential growth across sectors, businesses need to weigh critical factors before choosing their offshore engineering partner.

The global engineering outsourcing market, valued at $244.17 BN in 2018, is expected to grow at a compound rate of over 27% through 2022. US, Europe and Australia see immense potential in outsourcing CAD services such as 2D drafting, 3D modeling, CAD conversion, and reverse engineering services.

Benefits of CAD Outsourcing

Though the benefits of CAD outsourcing are well established, it is wise to verify certain key credentials of your offshoring partner before you sign on the dotted line. These relate primarily to project experience in terms of size, scope and nature. The CAD drafting outsourcing company’s domain knowledge, technology expertise, knowledge of industry standards etc. is also very important. Let’s walk you through some critical facts you need to ascertain about your partner.

1. What is your background and experience?

You would not want an amateur company to handle your complicated CAD drafting tasks. Check to see if your outsourcing partner has strong technical leadership in place. Dig deeper into their background. Check to see their experience in CAD drawing services, design services, design processes etc. Keep reading

Your CAD outsourcing partner should have extensive years of versatile and quality CAD and related experience. This should span multiple industries like construction, commercial equipment and machinery, automotive sector, heavy equipment, engineering design, HVAC, furniture designing etc. They should be able to showcase their experience and track record of successful project deliveries.

2. What resources do you employ?

In today’s competitive business environment, talent is the key differentiator. Quality of talent is important not just in terms of technical competencies but also on key behavioral and soft skill parameters. Keep reading

Vendor review should include resources’ academic and technical credentials, their relevant experience, certifications, domain knowledge, aptitude for learning, critical thinking ability etc.

For instance, Hitech follows a rigorous screening process to ensure that the talent that comes in meets all of the above requirements. Critical thinking, spatial ability, quantitative aptitude, practical tests etc. are just some screening processes before hiring any candidate. International exposure in aligning global manufacturing processes to CAD designing and an understanding of global best practices is also essential.

You also need to make sure that your outsourcing partner has skill development plans in place to make sure that there is a positive learning curve.

3. What processes do you follow?

The absence of streamlined processes across functions can potentially cripple projects or stymie growth. It is important to ascertain the process they follow starting from allocation of work to quality checks. Keep reading

  • Are these well-defined, documented?
  • Is there a tracking mechanism?
  • Do they have defined quality processes?
  • Do they have defined performance metrics?
  • What is their client communication protocol?
  • What reporting mechanism do they have in place?
  • How flexible are they to adopting client processes?

It is important to project visibility to give you confidence that your project is on track and will meet deadlines.

  • Do they have daily status updates?
  • Do they let you know if a project is likely to be delayed?
  • Are you able to access their project management database?

The most important thing here for you to understand from the partner is their vision on continuous process improvement.

  • Are they striving for process excellence?
  • Do they measure constant process improvement?
  • How do they do it?

4. What technology do you leverage to enhance efficiency?

Technology is the key driver for enhanced engineering operations. The robustness of the technology embraced or investment planned will determine potential to deliver as per business expectations.

Technology embraces not just the hardware in terms of systems, bandwidth and network, but also applications, plugins, engineering software etc. Software used should be the latest and licensed versions.

5. How do you ensure high accuracy standards?

It is important that your outsourcing company gets its accuracy levels right. A wrong design can outweigh an inexpensive pricing and ruin your competitive edge, eventually moving you out of business. Hiring a CAD outsourcing service provider that can point out mistakes in CAD drawings, run human error checks and amend errors would be a wise decision. Keep reading

At the same time, it would be a tall order to expect complete automation in CAD designing, given the fact that AI cannot replace human intervention totally, especially for CAD drafting services.

Many a time, it so happens that design data is distorted when imported. This especially happens when the CAD platform differs and it becomes necessary to import the data to another CAD platform. This problem can be overwhelming and the experience of the CAD drafter is important here.

Proficient CAD operators need to have excellent design and editing skills besides capabilities for cleansing design data, replicating parts, etc. A multiplicity of design accuracy errors can throw the entire project out of balance, requiring significant redo costs.

Look for an outsourcing company which hires CAD designers with proven accuracy, relevant knowledge, and skills.

6. How do you leverage automation?

Adopting automation is critical to the sustainability of business operations and gaining a competitive edge in the market. It is important for you to ascertain the vendor’s inclination to implement automation across processes. Keep reading

Review automated projects and the impact automation has had turnaround times, accuracy, streamlining processes etc. It would also good to understand the benefits of automation, if any, accruing to customers and the ability to replicate this across projects. Leveraging automation empowers your partnership and helps your outsourcing partner to design and manufacture efficiently and deliver on promises consistently.

7. Do you offer decent amount of flexibility and scalability?

Given the volatile and dynamic nature of businesses, you would need a vendor who is flexible and competent in meeting shifting design changes and project demands. Your agreement also should take into account the ease with which you can change your vendor. Keep reading

Scalability also is a factor you need to consider. Check with the outsourcing company about possibilities of hiring specialized or niche resources for a short period only. Also, find out the extent to which they would be able to ramp up operations at short notice. This includes training time and bringing resources up to speed. Don’t go by their word. You would need to check for demonstrated capabilities.

8. How competitive is your pricing?

Due to global developments and fluctuations in manufacturing patterns around the world, outsourced CAD services outsourcing has become the norm. Several CAD outsourcing drafting companies charge very low rates for 3D CAD services. But you need to be cautious when you weigh the costs against the deliverables.

Costs need to be competitive without compromising either on deadlines or high quality CAD drawings. Assure yourself of the value that you would be getting. See whether you are getting an operational model that lets you get the best pricing advantage.

9. How do you ensure that you meet deadlines?

The time zone advantage is one of the biggest advantages of outsourced services. Audit the shift timings and the nature of operations to make sure that they are favorable to meeting deadlines. Check whether your outsourcing partner has 24*7 operations. Keep reading

  • Are they accessible at all times?
  • Would they be willing to scale up to meet very short project deadlines?
  • Are they sensitive to priorities?
  • Do you get timely updates on the status of work which assures you of timely deliverables?

Most companies build deadline levels into their SLAs, so this crucial aspect is taken care of at the negotiation stage itself before you sign the agreement.

10. What happens if something goes wrong?

If the accuracy of CAD drafting or drawing is not met, rates built into the SLAs ensure that quality work is delivered to the customer within a negotiable timeframe. Clients can also negotiate for a long-term commitment and competent design engineers to lead the team. In fact, most agencies allow you to interview their employees and set up a team of your choice which continues to work as part of their company but directly under your command and control. Keep reading

Both parties must ensure that flexibility is built into the contract or agreement and both need to concentrate on defining the services as well as service levels. For instance, long term relationships need to factor in technology or infrastructure changes etc..

11. How proactive are you?

Discuss with the drafting service provider and try to gauge their proactive nature. What processes do they follow which give you the comfort that they are proactive and not reactive. Essentially, do they follow a pull or a push approach? Once you assign work, will they focus on just work completion or will they ask questions to enhance work quality? Do they offer suggestions that value add to the project? Do they follow a consultative approach?

12. How do you handle the security and protection of sensitive data?

This crucial concern needs to be addressed before offshoring to an engineering outsourcing service provider. You need to ascertain that the CAD drafting company adheres to strict multiple data security and confidentiality measures. The average total cost of a data breach is pegged at $3.86 million. Keep reading

  • Does security screen visitors entering and exiting the premises for storage media such as USB drives, memory cards, CD drives, and other removable media?
  • Do they have a policy that disallows cameras, camera phones and digital recording media in sensitive areas?
  • Is the operational area monitored through CCTV and the feed of these cameras monitored by the security?

Most CAD drafting companies follow a strict policy backed security. They mandate that employees sign comprehensive Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), which include stringent clauses, the breach of which is punishable under various laws. Stringent background checks of employees are undertaken including references from past employers.

There also needs to be strict electronic data security measures in place. These include secure dedicated servers housed with international reputed data centers, regular data backup, enhanced virus, malware, and ransomware protection. Server access for enhanced transmission security is also needed. Other measures include endpoint protection for network security and segmented LAN with firewall protection, and multiple access restrictions.

PC security is enhanced by disabling USB and CD ROM drives and providing individual domain accounts to ensure that source documentation is accessible by authorized personnel only. Briefly, all possible measures are undertaken to ensure the security of sensitive data and strict measures are put in place to prevent any violation.

If you are based in Europe, GDPR compliance is something you need to check for.

Conclusion

The benefits of CAD outsourcing for cutting edge business operations and freeing up key resources for value-add activities are well established. However to make this initiative really work for you, exercising caution and conducting due diligence are advised. Given the mission critical role that your outsourcing partner will play in driving operations, review credentials multiple times to make sure you’ve made the right choice. Don’t satisfy yourself by speaking just with the marketing guys. Connect with the technical team to understand their strengths. It would be worth it to even visit the facilities to see for yourself how the partner operates.

To sum up do your homework to reap the multiple benefits that CAD outsourcing can offer to your business.

Tags:
CAD draftingcad drawingsCAD Outsourcing Companycad outsourcing partnerdrafting companies
Authored by:
Usha B. Trivedi

is an engineer and she contributes in-depth articles for mechanical and industrial equipment designs, furniture designs and fabrication sector. Her contributions are primarily focused on enabling engineering professionals, furniture manufacturers and fabricators to optimize design outcomes through CAD and CAE tools.

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