Successful companies often find themselves at a crossroads when undertaking a large, new project. Whether increasing capacity, developing a new product or system, or modernizing existing equipment, an organization can find itself in a bind when trying to find bandwidth with internal engineering and manufacturing capabilities. A choice must be made that can alter the course of the project significantly before it even begins, find an outside manufacturing partner, or bring on additional resources. The right answer is rarely obvious.
Adding design engineering resources can be a double-edged sword. Generally, a younger engineer will be cheaper but could take weeks or months to get fully up to speed and may require supervision to start that could disrupt other employees. A more experienced engineer should get up to speed considerably quicker, however will be more expensive to employ and is not as readily available in the job market as a younger engineer would typically be. In either case, the cost of employment obviously goes far beyond salary once benefits, hardware and office costs, and payroll taxes are added. The total cost of employment to a company is often 2-3 times the actual salary paid to the employee.
Finding a design, development and manufacturing partner alleviates many of the issues of bringing on new staff for a project. For one, as soon as a project is kicked off, a proven firm such as Sigma Design can get immediately to work. The only costs paid are hours spent on the project, whether it be design and drafting, engineering analysis, or review by senior engineers. One of the biggest advantages however is the ability for an established design firm to work autonomously. All that is required from the customer is attendance and communication at periodic design reviews and update meetings to make sure the development is meeting expectations. When a program is designed with specific phases and deliverables you can simply “turn on” or turn off” the team expenses depending on your needs.
What happens when the design phase is done, or it is time to transition into the manufacturing phase? If the engineering was kept in house, is there enough incoming work to support the additional resources that were hired? Typically, where design programs require under 1000 workhours it is more cost effective to partner with an outsourced firm rather than hiring. Also, today when you cannot find the experienced candidates what choice do we have? Wait or postpone the program or move forward knowing the earlier you launch the more beneficial it is to your firm.
Additionally, are there adequate manufacturing resources in house to support the next phase of the design / build project. Or are there additional hires needed to be made to support this phase? With a design/build partner like Sigma Design, the same engineers that develop the design will be the same engineers overseeing its manufacture. The logistical efficiency of an engineer selecting vendors for commercial part of an assembly during design, ordering the parts for the build, and then overseeing the entire production process cannot be easily quantified for this comparison. However, the advantages of keeping a project in the same building, from design kickoff all the way through factory acceptance testing and shipping are massive. This typically makes the entire process much more economical than trying to tackle a large project on your own.
Is your company considering a large design build, and unsure if you have the resources in house to complete the project? Give Sigma Design a call today! Over 1000 completed projects to date. On time – On budget!