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* If voice communication is required, try Skype (free).
* Both you and provider should have access to a scanner for digitizing sketches.
* You must also have each other's postal address and telephone numbers.
(5) Have a procedure in place for conflict resolution.
(6) As far as possible, do not let go of existing staff because you are outsourcing.
Identify unfulfilled skill needs in your organization when you first think of outsourcing. Explain to relevant staff that you plan to outsource and that you will train them in those skills. If nevertheless some want to leave, they are responsible for their departure and not you.
(7) Be ready with support services and materials for your providers.
* For instance, you might have to send provider files that are in a format for which they do not have opening application. You should have software and staff to convert document into a format compatible with provider's application.
* At beginning of exercise, provider will typically have many technical questions. The task force should include staff whose time is specifically reserved for providing answers.
* Be readily available to help as much as you can. This builds confidence in provider's mind as well as a relationship between you and provider.
(8) Develop a partner relationship with provider.
* You should be partners in achieving overall goal... this could be cost reduction, process improvement, more time for your core business, expertise, flexibility and so on.
* Discuss this goal with provider, ask for their views and treat them like a department of your company.
* More research facts: In first year, important issues are contract, performance measurements and relationships (in that order); by third year, it's performance measurements, relationships, contract.
(9) Budget for outsourcing exercise.
Use this valuable observation to help you plan:
" ... end users engaged in outsourcing indicate that, on average, users spend from 5 to 12 percent of total contract value on managing relationship"
--- The Yankee Group (in a recent study)
* What we've just described represents latest thinking on managing a CAD outsourcing project.
* The ideas are state-of-the-art and custom-made for today's world.
* We hope you use them and that thereby your business experiences a significant increase in efficiency, earnings and competitiveness.
Lakshman Balaraman, MSEE (University of Michigan), is Executive Director of The Magnum Group, http://themagnumgroup.net, an engineering and architectural design services company located at Chennai, India.