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Overseas outsourcing can be tricky says consultant

Low labour costs are encouraging many Australian businesses to outsource engineering services to overseas companies.

However, Soto Consulting Group is not only in favour of hiring the services of Australian engineering facilities but also practices what it preaches, and for good reason.

Managing Director, Mr Frank Soto explains that there are always pros and cons as is the case with any cross continental business arrangement However, when it involves engineering services, the consequences can be very damaging if the issue isn’t thought out properly.

According to Mr Soto, regardless of whether the end client is a mining or energy company, food processor, bulk handling operator or any application where engineering is needed, decisions should be based on key considerations such as adherence to Australian Standards; close working relationships vs. distant connection; legacy value; and economic benefit and general business opportunities.

Adherence to Australian Standards
Engineering companies in overseas locations may not be conversant with relevant Australian Standards, leading to technical liabilities for the end customer.

According to Mr Soto, if a product, system or facility has a problem or even a catastrophic failure, any minor aspect of the project such as a subcomponent that is not engineered to the relevant Australian Standard can very easily be blamed for the problem. Australian engineering has very strict measures in place to ensure even the tiniest engineered component meets expectation; therefore, companies outsourcing to countries on other continents need to be aware of this fact.

Close working relationships
Engineering design is a process of close collaboration, which is a priceless asset in engineering projects for all industries. While the internet has theoretically brought distant parties a lot closer, there is no substitute for actual physical availability of engineers on location when needed.

According to Mr Soto, this is invaluable for clients as has been proven countless times by his firm. He explains that speed, accuracy, competency and top return on investment benefit greatly from close working relationships between an engineering company and its clients.

He added that the economic benefits are many for Australia: Apart from stimulating more work for local engineering companies; the closer working relationships with domestic firms will ultimately deliver more profitable outcomes through smarter planning and streamlined solutions.

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