Knowing if or when to outsource is a critical project management skill. It can feel counter-intuitive; after all your in-house teams will be immersed and invested in the project and its success.

Yet this is to misunderstand the reality and benefits that external ears and eyes can bring. Far from just being an additional expense or management headache, some of the most complex projects and innovative novel concepts have been brought to the marketplace, efficiently and effectively, thanks to a perfect balance of internal and external teamwork.

Of course outsourcing brings additional expertise and experience to your team. New skills and capability can speed up the design and test process, fresh input and ideas can help whole or specific parts of a project cut through and meet tight delivery timescales. What often gets missed is the strength of the team that develops when internal and external resources are mixed, the potential that is realised when many heads are brought together to deliver. In fact, when we have been brought in to work on one project, we have often become established partners with our clients to help deliver further projects.

Ben Barrass, Managing Director at Cascade Engineering recognises this. “We have long-standing relationships going back years. Our clients are comfortable knowing they retain the same oversight as they would on any internal project, with the additional confidence that the project is in tried and tested hands. Our work with GE Aviation is a great example of this, where we became trusted enough to lead their own teams, both internally and within their supply chain, as well as be their representatives to Airbus, their main customer.”

As experienced engineering partners to leading blue-chip OEMs and their supply chains, here is our 7-point guide to why using a resource like ours can give you a competitive edge:

1. It saves you money

Programme managers are often concerned that bringing in an external partner will eat up valuable budget. In fact, experience shows the opposite. Often, external partners are brought in late to projects in order to try and put things back on track, or because internal teams haven’t quite cracked the problem. That’s when it can get expensive. Working with an external partner from the outset can save you time and money, and ensure that you get a workable and certifiable engineering solution.

2. It brings a new perspective

Programme teams can be tightknit. And that also means that they can have set ideas and habitual ways of working. Bringing an engaged partner into your programme injects a new view and a fresh perspective that can help all your internal teams to think differently and find better ways of working. You keep complete control of the brief, yet introduce important new thinking to your processes.

3. It can help you achieve incentive deadlines

All programme managers want to avoid penalty clauses. So imagine if you worked with a partner who actively helps you to achieve incentive deadlines. Being able to work faster and smarter can improve reputations for you personally and for your company, resulting in more opportunities for your business.

4. It takes the pressure off

Complex engineering programmes require constant control and management. Outsourcing means you have a whole additional team on your side – one that is managed by a single point of contact who reports to you on a regular basis and works seamlessly with your internal teams to keep things moving. Having this expertise on hand takes some of the pressure off at the points where you need it the most, while also leaving the internal team free to concentrate on other key tasks. In very complex projects, the more mundane or less headline-grabbing tasks can be overlooked. Dedicated external resources are accountable for these offloaded elements, as their performance is judged on all areas of project success, so no tasks are neglected.

5. You are completely supported

A good outsourced engineering partner will understand the importance of supporting your role and your decision to use an external supplier for critical parts of your programme. Your partner will be able to deliver clear, actionable technical proposals and project plans you can share with procurement, quality, finance and management departments, helping to make your business case.

6. They step up when it matters

Once you have a good working relationship with an experienced partner, you can use them across other parts of your programme, or across any of the other programmes you need to deliver. By building a good working partnership, you can rely on your outsourced team to understand and anticipate your needs, move quickly to find solutions and not waste your time and money in the process.

7. It offers flexibility

One of the best things about an outsourced solution is that you don’t have to recruit and pay overheads for expensive additional team members, who later may not be required. Your partner can flex the team according to requirements, so what may just start with an initial concept and small team may morph into a bigger team during design and development and then reduce significantly for test and certification. You get the flexibility you need without the hassle of employment or associated costs.

As you can see from our work with German aerospace company EIS Aircraft, we move quickly, produce cost-effective, fully approved designs and have cemented our role as a preferred supplier for their complex projects.

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