of $150 billion by 2020—five times more than
today, according to The Elusive Right Path to
Engineering Offshoring, a Booz & Co. report Mr.
Kyslinger helped author.
Having to deal with all of the glitches doesn’t
mean companies should never outsource engineering, he says. Sometimes it’s the only way to
get projects done, and it can certainly be easier on
the bottom line.
“Outsourcing can cut costs dramatically—but
only if it’s done correctly,” Mr. Kyslinger says.
Project leaders must understand and manage the
risks that come with the decision to outsource. It’s
simply not cost-effective to pay $30 an hour to design
something overseas if it’s done incorrectly and requires
an additional 100 hours on the assembly line.
“You just have to be perfectly clear with the
outsource team about what you want, because
slight differences in design can throw everything
off and add time and expense to the project,” Mr.
He urges project sponsors to bring in everyone
working on the outsourced project for a kickoff
meeting. Then they can go over the ground rules,
establish the standards for design and make sure
the whole team understands what the client wants.
Companies may even want to conduct a trial
run of the communication process by advancing
the design release of one small item within the
overall larger project, Mr. Kyslinger advises. The
test will expose potential shortcomings, including
ones that could push the project off schedule or
Companies simply need to do their homework.
“Be cautious about who you outsource to and
make sure they share your values and commitment
to quality,” Mr. Kyslinger says. “And make sure you
have deliverables along the way. They will act as a
litmus test to prove the project is on track. Then if
problems arise you can address them immediately,
instead of finding out on the day it’s all due that
something is wrong.” —Sarah Fister Gale