Offshoring electronics design: advantages and disadvantages

To survive in the global market, companies must offer new products, says HBR.org† In consumer electronics, developing a new device always requires developing a new printed circuit board. If your company lacks expertise in this area or does not have enough people to do the job on time, outsourcing electronics design is a wise decision as this approach has a number of undeniable benefits.

Moreover, here you can choose between outsourcing the task to a domestic or a foreign company. At first glance, it may seem logical and convenient to hire a company in the same country as your company; however, offshoring electronics design can also be very beneficial.

Offshoring Electronics Design: Advantages

1. Lower Cost:

Price is one of the biggest concerns for any business. Depending on the complexity of the product you want to develop, prototyping can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Outsourcing electronics design to a foreign developer can be much cheaper due to lower labor costs in Eastern Europe, India, Asia and other regions.

2. Specialized expertise

Many businesses require specialized services such as IT, legal and financial services, etc., which can be quite expensive if you hire workers domestically. Therefore, offshoring of such tasks (also known as knowledge process outsourcing) has become a common practice. Research and development, as well as electronics design, are among the most common knowledge processes in offshore, as there are numerous highly skilled professionals in some countries.

3. Experienced teams

Electronics design offshoring gives companies access to a valuable resource, namely a ready-made team of professionals with extensive experience in a particular field. There is no need to build your own team from scratch as these people already know each other and work great together.

At the same time, the offshoring electronics design raises certain concerns.

Offshoring Electronics Design: Disadvantages

1. Language and culture differences

It goes without saying that you will have to communicate with people who belong to a different culture and who have a different mother tongue than yours. This can lead to certain communication problems. However, many electronics design houses focus on the global market, so their employees usually have decent English skills and know how to work with foreigners.

2. Time zone difference

Another common problem is that the contractor’s hours of operation are different from yours. But this shouldn’t be a problem if the company’s managers provide all the required reports in a timely manner and are available on a daily basis.

3. Security

When you outsource a development task, one of the biggest concerns is security. The team you hire may steal some of your ideas, technical solutions, some parts of the code, etc. A nondisclosure agreement will protect you to some extent against intellectual property theft (source here), but it is safer to research your potential partner thoroughly and read customer reviews before contacting them.

While larger companies prefer to outsource electronics design to domestic companies to avoid these risks, smaller companies can greatly benefit from work offshoring. In addition, since your potential partners are also aware of these issues, they usually do their best to eliminate any potential issues, including language differences and security issues. If you are interested in outsourcing your project, check out Integra Sources’ electronic design services: https://www.integrasources.com/services/electronic-design-services/

Last updated: February 21, 2022