In my career I have experienced many sides of engineering and product development services – as an employee of a design / manufacturing company, as a customer purchasing engineering services, and now as a business owner providing engineering services to other businesses.
No matter what the size and type of company, there are always times when internal engineering teams are stretched thin, do not have the necessary expertise, or are in need of help to complete a product development project. The challenge, when you are super-busy, is to pull yourself or your front-line managers away to actually get the help they need.
Conventional outsourced engineering services typically equates to providing companies with temporary staffing solutions. While there is definitely some value in this approach, there are some significant challenges that are left unaddressed. I have learned through first-hand experience with hiring contract engineering services that just adding people to your organization does not always equate to higher productivity and relief of your core team. In fact, adding staff can become an additional drag on your front-line managers as they have to train, integrate, and manage the added staff on top of their already overloaded schedules. In this day of high-speed information flow and high-speed expectations, time is by far the single largest constraint on your “A-player” managers. Having to further tap into their time is the last thing they (or you) can afford.
This traditional model for outsourced engineering services is what I would call a managed solution – managed by you, the client. Now wouldn’t it be of even more value and comfort if someone could take that management burden away but still work closely with you to achieve your goals?
Imagine a very different situation in which your front-line engineering managers can simply define their needs at a very high level and then hand off their project or problem to a high-performance team to tackle. Their role and resulting effort is now considerably different because the project manager can now focus their valuable time on helping to communicate and achieve the high level project goals instead of having to direct every little task. This approach requires open communication, a high level of competency on the part of the external team, and perseverance for results. This is true collaboration.
This is what we do at Inertia.