4 responses to “Subcontracting for Dummies”

  1. Charles J Gervasi

    The people asking for a custom part feel like they’re doing the vendor a favor by telling them about an obvious change to their part that will make it more valuable.

    The vendor feels like the customers are asking for a custom part without paying much NDA.

  2. GEARS

    For some reason (and this is off on a tangent), I get the reasons why products need subcontracting but I don’t buy it that civil engineering projects need subcontracting. And you explain the need for it in a clear, concise manner. But when I apply that to roads and bridges, I don’t believe it for a second… Random.

  3. Chris Shepherd

    Specifications are always difficult things whether it be for internal use or suppliers. Specify things too tightly and you constrain the supplier to doing things your way when their expertise might have come up with a better way. Keep things too loose and important interfaces can be under specified leading to problems.
    When you sub-contract things the problems that ensue can be difficult to resolve: whose fault is it the specification was inadequate in some way? Who is going to pay for it? the sub-contractor has to make a profit, you need the job done right.
    When doing the job internally this problem plays out differently, the money is often less of an issue but then you have no levers with which to apply pressure.
    Life is never easy…

  4. ChrisW

    The battles I remember on this topic have all surrounded risk.

    We spec’d a set of springs, ordered samples, did some checking, did the full order, installed the springs, and then equipment started to fly apart… Why? Because the springs delivered under the part number were 10x stiffer than the samples we tested… and, who pays for the damage?… not the vendor.

    My lesson is watch out for assumptions, because they can bite hard. The vendor might know everything there is to know about satellite link budgets, but then you go an install the antenna in a plane, and vibration completely mess up their tracking software…