Extensioneering…not outsourcing

You may or may not have heard of the term Extensioneering.  We believe it was coined by one of our customers when he explained how we work with his internal engineering team.  We literally became an extension of his group.  Little did we know at the time, but it says a lot about how the Engineering and Design group at EAC approaches projects and working relationships with customers.

We now like to refer to what we do as Extensioneering rather than consulting or outsourcing as these terms tend to have a  stigma attached to them.  In reality, what do you think of when you hear outsourcing;

  • Why would I let someone else do my work?
  • I don’t want to tell someone how to do it or explain what I need, when I can do it myself.
  • They won’t get it right.
  • Outsource…doesn’t that mean send it off to China or overseas?
  • Toss it over the wall and see what comes back.

Some of the comments or statements may be true in certain situations.  Some of these ideas stem from poor experiences in the past.  And the worst may just be due to job security.  Most of the bad rap that outsourcing or consulting gets is due to poorly set expectations.  You should never have to lower the expectations of what you will be getting from your outsource partner, but do discuss expectations with them from the onset before any work is actually performed.  Doing this early will insure you get a project completed and the deliverables will meet your needs.

I can’t tell you that outsourcing or extensioneering is the right solution for your company or project and I would like to tell you to send all your overflow, R&D type of projects to us (this is what we do) but that’s not the point of this  post.

So here are some simple things to think about when choosing a design outsource (Extensioneering) partner;

  1. What is the communication schedule that you will be having on the project?
  2. How responsive were they when you approached them on the project?
  3. In discussion of the project, were they truly interested in the project?  Will they provide some amount of potential education back to you (if needed) or vice versa?
  4. How many resources can be applied, both from your company and the potential design partner?
  5. What have they worked on before?  It’s not always a bad thing if they haven’t done “what you do”.  This allows for some out of the box thinking and fresh approaches.
  6. What software is to be used?  Not just the CAD, but the data and project management aspect as well.
  7. What is the expected timeline for the project?  Remember that the design partner schedule may also be dependent on what you can provide them in regards to communication and reviews.