Outsourcing the Blueprint

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Mar 26

You can have a building designed anywhere. Consider the Tropicana in Las Vegas, in the midst of a huge facelift. Since architects in the United States are in short supply, the firm chose to outsource some of the work to Cadforce Inc., a Marina del Rey (CA) firm that has employees in India. Dozens are now helping to plan the Tropicana from 8,000 miles away.

According to Business Week, about 20% of architectural firms are outsourcing and another 30% are considering it. The big reason cited in the article: rather than doing complete designs, outsourcers are doing simpler tasks that take a lot of time:

  • turning schematic drawings and turning them into blueprints
  • Making sure doors and pipes are aligned

According to the article, these baseline tasks can take up to 60% of the time spent designing a building.

Underlying the architectural outsourcing is the same basics in other industries that I’ve seen:

  • A portion of a process that takes a long time, but is a part that is relatively simple to do
  • The ability to digitize the information. Here, architectural firms are at the point in their CAD programs that “allow them to render entire buildings in 3D, simulate stress tests, and track all construction materials.”
  • A shortage of labor in the host country that forces companies to look elsewhere for the work to be done.
  • An enhanced skill set that also can give a company a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

I continue to have the opinion that a Cubicle Warrior needs to continually show management why they are the best person on the planet for the job that they are doing. That is a somewhat radical perspective, but as globalization continues into more and more industries, I think it is the right perspective to have.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.