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The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Precision Engineering Services

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Precision engineering refers to the design and fabrication of components or products that have a very small room for error in their dimensions or functionality. For example, precision engineering is needed during the process of making pacemakers for people with heart conditions. This article discusses some of the pros and cons of outsourcing precision engineering services. Use this information to make an informed decision about whether you should outsource precision engineering or set up an in-house precision engineering unit.

The Pros

Orders can be completed quickly. Outsourcing precision engineering enables your company to deliver products ordered by clients quickly. For instance, it may be hard for your staff to produce thousands of medical instruments within a fortnight. However, that order can be completed if you outsourced the fabrication of those instruments to a company that specialises in precision engineering.

You have access to the latest technology. Outsourcing precision engineering functions enables you to make use of the latest technology in the industry. For example, the firm that you outsource to may have the latest CAD (computer-aided design) conversion software so that it is easy for a product design to be used by any CNC (computer numerical control) machine during the fabrication of different parts of the product. Such technology can save you from having to spend lots of money upgrading your equipment.

Seasonal changes in work demands can be absorbed easily. Outsourcing precision engineering services enables you to respond to any changes brought about by peak seasons and slow seasons. For example, you can avoid having to train a new temporary worker when a key employee goes on vacation. The tasks that were performed by the employee going on vacation can be outsourced so that no disruption to business occurs.

The Cons

There may be communication hardships. This is particularly likely if you outsource to an offshore company. For example, time zone differences may make it challenging to maintain real time communication with a firm that is thousands of miles away when urgent changes to a prototype are needed.

There is a risk of trade secrets leaking. Intellectual property (such as the designs of flagship products) can be at risk of being accessed by competitors if outsourcing precision engineering isn't well thought out. Such a breach of intellectual property can be devastating to the revenue and future of your company in case you did not take measures (such as signing non-disclosure agreements) to prevent it from happening.

As you can see, outsourcing precision engineering services has many benefits. However, caution must be taken to mitigate the possible shortcomings of outsourcing this important function of the production process.