Three out of ten CAD/CAM users are now outsourcing

Three out of ten UK CAD/CAM sites are currently outsourcing some part of the product design and development process, according to recent research conducted by The Business Advantage Group.

These findings concerning current and planned usage of outsourcing services came from telephone interviews conducted in November and December 2001 with managers responsible for CAD/CAM functions at 259 UK-based mechanical engineering sites. The sample was taken from Business Advantage’s database of 20,000 UK CAD/CAM user sites.

The research found that the current usage of outsourcing services is broken down as follows: Design – drafting jobs done off-site 12%, hiring CAD operators to work on-site 7%, production of rapid prototypes 5%, engineering analysis 5%, conversion of 2D CAD files to 3D 3%, translation of data between different CAD systems 2%, management of CAD operations for a specific project 2%.

The proportions of CAD/CAM users that would consider outsourcing particular outsourcing services in the future is shown in the chart.

However, of the 72% of sites who are not currently outsourcing any elements of the design – product development process, there is no sign that any change in habits is imminent.

Chris Turner, managing director of The Business Advantage Group Plc, observes: ‘Three out of ten sites are outsourcing elements of the design process; we can’t tell however from these findings whether this group has fully embraced outsourcing as a means to boost productivity and competitiveness, or has simply hit on a way to cope with a crisis. Understanding these attitudes will be important for suppliers seeking to persuade companies to do more than just farm out tasks when the pressure is on.’