Offshore outsourcing in global design networks
Researchers have examined the benefits of outsourcing engineering design services from various perspectives. However, the process by which complex engineering design work is outsourced across international boundaries has not been sufficiently investigated. In this research, three offshore outsourcing design projects involving a design team in the United States outsourcing part of the project design to an offshore design vendor are studied. The empirical interview data and primary documentation are analyzed to induce a set of eight key constructs associated with outsourcing engineering services across national boundaries. Variances in the perspectives of the client and the vendor are analyzed to identify important differences. The findings highlight the importance of addressing: (1) client concerns over trust development and knowledge sharing, (2) vendor concerns over quality control, communication, and schedule control, and (3) shared concerns over cultural barriers, role redundancy, and design practice norms. Understanding and addressing offshore outsourcing issues in global design networks is critical to enhancing the efficiency and profitability of complex engineering services offshoring. This study concludes with the best practices observed during the study and a set of recommendations, which will be beneficial to the A/E/C industry.