In the manufacturing industry, where success or failure often comes down to how well a business can play its margins, the question of whether or not to hire contract or permanent staff is one of immense import.
Hiring contract labour — especially to fill specialist needs — can be a vital way of keeping overhead costs down, but it can lead to hidden costs when it comes to the knowledge base a company is able to martial to respond to production line problems.
While most manufacturing firms contract out some work, there is lively debate as to which areas are best served by hiring permanent in-house staff, and which can be more effectively dealt with by contract personnel. But here are three areas in which hiring contract staff gives manufacturing companies an edge:
#1: Product Design
When it comes to designing new parts and products, it is important to have a dedicated team of full-time designers who can develop a long-term working relationship with other key members of your team. These in-house designers are essential to creating overarching plans and a clear vision for the new goods being produced.
But many of the subroutines that will be necessary for making these plans a reality can be written and programmed by contract workers who are hired for the duration of the project. Being strategic about hiring support programmers is a great way to maintain high design standards without expanding your workforce.
Metrology is a major component of any quality control protocol, but pursuing effective measurement solutions requires a lot of specialized technical knowledge. Coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are sophisticated tools, and technicians need to be up-to-date on the latest CMM software if they are to write new part programs or customize and update old ones.
Hiring outside experts who can help with contract CMM programming services is a great way to ensure that your projects are staffed with people who understand the latest software and technology without needing to expand your full-time workforce.
And because many contract metrology programmers include training as part of their services, they can help your employees expand their own understanding of coordinate measuring tools and processes.
#3: Web Design
If you run a manufacturing business, your webpage is the public face of your company, and as such it plays an important role in making a good first impression. You want your website to communicate to potential partners and clients that your business delivers quality work, and you want it to be easy to navigate and legible even to non-specialists.
Web design is an important element of marketing that can be easily outsourced to a contract programmer who knows how to make your website an important conduit for sales and customer service.
In any business, the question of whether or not to hire contractors or employees will be a perennial concern. But in manufacturing it is especially important given the costs of labour and the comparatively large workforce sizes.
Hiring contract programmers to help with design, metrology, and web design is one way forward-thinking manufacturing companies are responding creatively to the pressures of the 21st century economy.