What is “Remote Design” and how is it a Successful Business Model?
So what is “Remote Design” you ask? It’s actually a pretty simple concept. When a company becomes to bogged down with plans or simply doesn’t want to deal with the overhead of having designers on staff, they call or get in touch with an outsourcing company such as Gould Design, Inc. (GDI) or Advanced Component Solutions (ACS). Companies like GDI have multiple “Remote Designers” that they distribute the work that a company sends for many things. Things like roof and floor truss design, EWP, wall panels and pretty much anything else that has to do with the process of building a house. Remote designers are people who typically work from home and because of this they can be found anywhere in the country. Some remote design forms even have staff in other countries. Beware though; some firms have staff that is exclusively in other countries!
In today’s day and age, technology has progressed at a light speed pace. With the “technology is dead after 6 months” idea it seems even faster. So what does this mean for remote designing? Well for starters it means that we now have the power to design pretty much anything in a housing project from home. This “power” also gives us the chance to have video conferences with customers that our thousands of miles away and further. How cool is that? We can now transfer huge files back and forth between customers and remote designers using programs like Skype and Google Drive. There are even applications on “The Cloud” that allow people to connect to your computer and see everything you’re working on when you have those questions or concerns that can’t be explained over a phone conversation. Technology has allowed remote design to be almost the same as being in the same exact office as the customer.
How does this benefit you, the customer, cost-wise? Well as I stated before, it eliminates the overhead associated with employees. The benefit here is really felt during the slow periods, as you only pay a for each design you want done, when you need it done. This can translate to huge savings. If you have designers on staff when there is a drop in sales, you are sometimes paying them to do almost nothing. This can even occur with busy times if a designer is all caught up.
With remote design, you send over what you need done, when you need it done, and some parameters on how you want it done and boom, there it is. All you pay for is simply that set of plans and nothing more. Let’s say it was a 4 hour job and you have an in-house designer do it, what is that designer going to do for the remainder of the 8 hour shift if there is no more to do? Eat up 4 hours of pay? Then there are the benefits packages that companies offer. Some of these packages can reach $20,000 or more a year. If you employ 5 designers, that’s $100,000 a year just in benefits, not to mention their respective salaries. The cost savings alone in remote design is very substantial and to me is a no brainer.
Then there is the other side of the coin: It is so busy that there isn’t enough man power to get everything done on time. You are considering turning away work. Typically the builders don’t like waiting weeks to get designs back. What do you do then? Do you risk upsetting the builder because of lead times? Or do you look to other resources like remote design?
To ensure that a customer’s needs are met on every single job, a reputable remote design firm requests what is called a “Design Criteria” from a customer. Basically a set of rules that the manufacturer would like to see followed on each and every job. In this “rule” book, the customer will outline everything from building code to labeling scheme. This is set so that no matter which remote designer handles the work, it will be the exact same each and every time. It gives you, the customer, a piece of mind knowing that once a precedent is set it will always be met and there for will help eliminate those costly and untimely errors, perhaps all together.
With this article, I hope that was has been outlined is more than enough to say that remote design can and is a very successful operation. Remote design can make your company much more successful and profitable……if you use a reputable source. Be sure to ask these questions to your potential source:
- Do you carry software licensing?
- Are you insured?
- How long have you been in business?
- Who do I know that can recommend you?
With this type of firm you can take on more work and not have to worry about lead times as they will be minimal. Not only does the customer get faster turn-around times, but remote design will eliminate the overhead costs tremendously. This in turn will add to that bottom line at the end of the year.
Gould Design, Inc.