• James Abbott - MD Challenge Engineering

Engage Specialist Expertise and Leapfrog Over Your Competition

Growing a business in the engineering industry can be a challenge. Winning new contracts and delivering excellent customer service is the mainstay of any business. When it comes to identifying if you have reached the limits of your knowledge and experience, there are a few tell-tale signs.

What do you do when you realise there is potential for growth, but you just can’t figure out how to achieve it? When seeking outside expertise, what is the best way to do it? Should you find a freelancing engineering consultant or recruit on a contract or permanent basis?

This article will offer some insights into tackling stagnating business progress, and how bringing in help can take things to the next level.

When to call in the Cavalry?

For small engineering firms especially, it may be difficult for the owners to put ego aside and make the decision to ask for help. The typical signs that external input is needed include an inability to deliver consistent product quality, and failure to meet client deadlines. The former can be a lack of knowledge within the existing team, or an inability to utilise the available resources effectively. The latter is possible due to an overstretched team, inadequate capacity or lack of consistent production workflow.

Let’s look at some scenarios in more detail:

1. Lack of expertise

When management discovers a gap in the knowledge of the business, they face making a tough decision. The costs associated with acquiring this expertise may be significant. Is training existing staff adequate, and will it deliver results quickly? Engaging a freelancer, taking on a permanent employee, or hiring a consultant is often the best move to bridge the expertise gap.

2. Unable to meet demand

The inability to meet customer demand is often an indication of an inadequate production system. The strain on equipment or lack of skilled labour to operate machinery may lead to the inability to keep production schedules running. Recruiting more experienced staff in this instance, even on a temporary basis, may offer a solution to skilled staff shortages.

3. Lack of capacity

In some cases, it may become necessary to seek the involvement of a consultant, or company simply because you don’t have the resources or capacity to perform a task. A case in point is when your production lines are already running at maximum capacity. It might be necessary to speak with other partners, or machine shops for example who can help support you during busy production periods. Their expertise and production capabilities can support your production on a short term, ensuring you can meet customer deadlines, and deliver parts on time. It’s all about win-win relationships.

The 6 advantages of engaging external expertise

If your business is experiencing some of the challenges outlined above, you may be considering hiring a consultant. Whatever form your consultant will take, there are advantages to engaging outside expertise. These include:

  • Maximising the potential of your business or production system for increased productivity

  • Gaining expertise that would take years to develop in-house without the financial outlay

  • Quicker solutions to business challenges than doing it yourself

  • Introducing a fresh perspective to your business operations and processes

  • Accessing knowledge from other organisations and industry best practices

  • No long-term commitment - use contracted resource as needed.

Finding the right people is often harder than it may appear at first. Interviewing and candidate selection may take the time of key people within the business, making the situation worse. Taking on a new employee or freelancer on a short-term contract may be a way of assessing their capability without a costly, longer-term commitment from either party.

Finding the right people

Once you decide external expertise is what your business needs, finding the right people is the next step.

Maintaining strong relationships with specialist recruiters is a great way to finding the right people to help your business. Recruiters will help you to identify the most suitable candidates and work on scheduling interviews, saving you time. However, there will be a fee involved.

There are also many terrific consulting businesses that offer specialists for as long or as short a time period as you require. They may come in to your business for a particular project or provide a service on a daily rate.

Participating in social networking, attending events, and keeping in touch with industry news are other ways of finding industry experts.

Final thoughts

The purpose of this article is to give you some insights into the typical constraints businesses face. Learning to identify these constraints is crucial for business survival. Knowing when to call in external experts, either as consultants or freelancers can be a key turning point.

Overcoming lack of expertise, the inability to meet customer orders, or a lack of production capacity will see you achieve more business success. Getting the right support from external experts will help you achieve results faster.

Are you’re looking to realise growth in your business, or would like to identify the constraints hampering your progress? If so, perhaps it’s time to call in some external support.

At Challenge Engineering, in Sydney Australia, we machine custom metal and plastic components, and pride ourselves on great customer service. We can manufacture and deliver anywhere in Australia. Please contact us and find out how we can assist your business.Sign up to Challenge Engineering’s blog, send through a Request A Quote form, email us or phone (02) 9632 0010.

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