Saving time and money are two good reasons to consider outsourcing rendering and other visualization tasks overseas. However, there’s no guarantee you will save either, since the quality and reliability of overseas work varies widely.
Before you entrust your designs and firm’s reputation to an overseas company, it pays to investigate all your options.
Outsourcing tasks overseas can give your firm a leg up when competing for projects, meeting demanding schedules or filling in skills gaps within the firm. Since these companies are located in countries such as China, India and Korea where wages and overhead are substantially lower than in the U.S., outsourcing can reduce costs considerably — by as much as 50 percent or more, depending on the type of work and its complexity.
Larger companies employ hundreds of skilled graphic artists and technicians using the latest hardware and software. Due to the difference in time zones, smaller projects often can be turned around in 24 to 48 hours. In addition, these companies can offer more advanced forms of visualization, such as 3-D and animation, that most design firms cannot produce themselves.
While outsourcing frees up labor, it requires careful oversight. Working with companies overseas introduces yet another layer of management:
Language: You have to be able to communicate effectively with the firm to avoid misunderstandings, errors and costly delays.
Reliability: Veterans of overseas outsourcing caution that providers’ websites often are misleading, both about pricing and the quality of their work. Companies overpromising and underdelivering is another common complaint. Projects that were supposed to take days end up taking weeks instead.
Copyright: When you send work overseas, you have little or no protection against your designs being pirated and no recourse if they are.
With proper preparation and thorough vetting, you can help ensure a positive outcome when outsourcing overseas. When selecting a company to work with, ask experienced colleagues for referrals and the company for references from recent clients.
Before submitting any work, lay the groundwork for a successful relationship by first confirming language ability through calls and/or email, then establishing a process for how you will work and communicate with one another. Using a collaborative work platform as a central location for all communications, schedules and file transfers will help facilitate the process.
It’s crucial to manage perceptions and expectations regarding the project schedule and final product. Provide a letter of understanding that spells out clearly and in detail the project specifications, delivery schedule, costs and manner of payment, as well as intellectual property rights and protections.
Be mindful that in the beginning there will be a bit of a learning curve as you get accustomed to working with one another. You need to allow time for the relationship to gel.
As with any type of work product, in outsourcing overseas there are trade-offs of time, quality and cost. Asian companies offer the lowest costs but may disappoint in terms of quality and reliability. Companies in Eastern Europe in general have a good reputation for competitive pricing and higher quality and reliability. Argentina hosts several companies and a number of freelancers.
And don’t forget your own backyard. As competition has increased from overseas, some studios and freelancers in the U.S. have adjusted their rates to make them more attractive. That might be the best choice in a rush situation.
About the Author
Lloyd Princeton is a management and retained search consultant who specializes in the A&D industry including North American product sales distribution. As principal of Design Management Company, Lloyd is an expert at residential design pricing and is a frequent speaker major corporations, governments, developers, manufacturers and trade associations.
This article was provide by Multibriefs.