The Virtual CAD Department: The Case for Outsourcing Designs


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When the subject of outsourcing PCB designs is mentioned, it tends to strike an image that can have 100 different views for 100 different designers. Outsourcing has been a part of the electronics development industry since the dawn of time. Therefore, no one can write or describe a view that covers every perspective.

My thoughts for this topic were to describe some of the common rationale for the majority of outsourcing. Perhaps you can find a perspective that relates to your viewpoint, or you may encounter a new perspective to consider this question: When does design outsourcing makes sense for an OEM? And what are some things you can do to better prepare for outsourcing to succeed at your company?

One of my favorite foods is sushi. When asked what I would like to eat, I may offer sushi as a suggestion. I have found a common response: “Well, I don’t like sushi.”

I reply, “Have you ever tried it?”

“Well no. I just know I don’t like sushi.” Other times, I hear, “I think I tried sushi once a long time ago, and it was no good.”

Many of us have a preconceived idea about a subject prior to examination, or based upon a limited past experience. I offer this analogy to invite the naysayer along for this discussion in hopes that I might provide a helpful option to a problem you are facing, or one you may be facing in the near future.

In every facet of development, there will always exist success stories and horror stories. We will look into some of the pros and cons of outsourcing to show that one size does not fit all and that today’s issues may not be the issues we may face next year.

When Should I Outsource?

The state of the electronics industry is a subjective topic. Some designers might say things are going well, but others would argue the opposite. In good economic times and bad, OEMs still need to accomplish all tasks, complete the PCB design, and ship a product that is high quality, on schedule, and less expensive than the next company. This is the axiom that our competitive industry operates on: Better, less expensive, and we need it sooner!Read the full article here.Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

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