Recently I was researching topics to write about when I stumbled onto an old Forum Post on WoodWeb. If you aren’t familiar with WoodWed, it is an online community that serves the Woodworking Industry. It has Forums for a variety of sub-sets within the business and is a wonderful resource.

Outsourcing overseas

The topic that caught my eye was titled Help with Indian Drafting Company. The author explained a variety of issues that he was facing within the posting. These are a result of outsourcing his Shop Drawings to a Drafting Service based outside of the United States.

About three months ago a new guy ( who is no longer with us ) , convinced us to use a new cheaper drafting company that was out of the US but as it turned out they are from India or Pakistan or Dubai. Their website said they were from the US, they have “western” contact names listed but beyond that – and I don’t want to sound racist every-one speaks with a pronounced Indian accent. We even had to get one of our shop guys who speaks a form of Indian dialect to help speak to them one time when we needed to explain a detail.

We started using them and they were cheaper, but OMG I am now in a pinch.

I put up with the spelling mistakes and the weird terminology on the drawings and the obvious Google translation emails – and it worked for a while , until no one else in the office wanted to put up with it and I was left fixing the work myself. But still, I thought the value was ok, until I started to add up all my hours and that started to stink.

Then I couldn’t get replies in real time, and again I just accepted that this is the value tradeoff since they are obviously working off a serious time zone difference. Again, I swallowed that.

The author went on to expand on their dilemma. I genuinely felt bad for the predicament they found themselves in. It didn’t take long to realize that situations like this are a major concern for any company considering outsourcing their Shop Drawings. These situations can lead to legitimate problems. Problems that could easily offset the savings of outsourcing overseas.

Don’t feel overwhelmed

Commercial Millwork Shops contact us here at Superior Shop Drawings every single day. Most of these shops are overloaded with work and, in many cases, their in-house drafting department is looking for a hand getting caught up. Can you imagine being in that situation and then on top of the overload, having issues arise? Issues that require you to invest additional time that you don’t have into correcting problems created by an unanticipated language and/or regional barrier.

The intention of this post isn’t to come off as an infomercial. It also isn’t to say that there aren’t cost savings associated with outsourcing overseas – that would be disingenuous. We simply would suggest that you take a few simple steps to reduce the chances of unanticipated problems such as the one outlined above.

Look at Samples

US Based Millwork Drafting - Nurse Station

In this Digital Day and Age, practically all businesses have a website – especially companies that produce Millwork Shop Drawings. Often times it is easy to poke around and find samples of previously completed projects.

While looking over samples, try and find something that mimics the work that your company does. Take a look and see if it meets your needs. If your company specializes in Residential Kitchens and you can’t find a sample, send a quick email. Ask them if they have something recent that they would be willing to show you. It is that simple.

Pick up the Phone

The simplest way to get a feel for the company that you are interested in working with is to pick up the phone and give them a call. Explain your situation and ask a few questions.

Hi Walt,
This is John from XYZ Cabinet Company in Arizona. We’re a little behind on our Shop Drawing Submittals. We are interested in seeing if you could help get us caught up. Before we begin, I’d like to ask you a few questions to see if we could form a business relationship.

Can you tell me a little bit about your company?
Where are you guys based and what are your normal business hours?
We do a lot of plastic laminate casework for Bank and Hospitals – is that something that you do regularly?
This project that I’d like you to quote has a Radius Reception Desk. Does your team have any hands-on experience with that sort of thing to troubleshoot potential problems that you may come across during the drafting process?

In my experience in speaking with our customers, they are often proud of their business and are more than happy to give you a bit of history. As a shop drawing company, it is important to learn about the company’s ins and outs of their business. I’m very proud of the relationships we’ve built with our customers. I am also pleased to tell you all about Superior Shop Drawings. We are very transparent about the work that we do for our customers and take pride in our high level of experience. Any Shop Drawing company should be willing to do the same.

Choose the Right Company for You

It is no secret that there is no shortage of companies that produce Shop Drawings. If you do a Google search, a plethora of companies will appear in the search. They range in size from small one-man operations drafting on the side to large outfits that crank out hundreds of projects each year.

Finding the right company for may seem like a daunting task. It is important to make sure you find a company best suited for your needs. Finding a company that is knowledgeable and can answer all of your questions is key. In the end, working with someone you are comfortable with can save a lot of time, energy, and frustration.

Walt White