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(pronounced AUT-sor-sing)

Though this term is used in a vast number of global industries, we included in the DESIGN SPEAK section because it has affected the architecture and design community more and more in recent years. In general, it is the concept of taking internal company functions and paying an outside firm to handle them. Most famous (or infamous): customer service call-centers and IT support. Most accepted: data processing, payroll functions, shipping and warehousing. The goal is to cut costs, especially when the workforce that the company contracts with is overseas and pays only a fraction of the typical wages to its employees.

Within the A&D industry, the most common outsourcing function is CAD, hand-rendering, and 3-D computer animation work. The last two are completely understandable as it takes special talent and specific software. However, the first in the list – CAD – is a fairly common function in both large and small firms. Arguments against outsourcing CAD work are usually those of quality control, security, and project management challenges. Arguments for outsourcing are usually those of better profit margins, increased project capacity, and faster turn-around time (working around the clock in multiple time zones).

See also: insourcing