Tell me if this sounds familiar: you want to increase efficiency and capability but your testing equipment scope is compromised by a yearly budget. It can be frustrating, but there are other options and here we will discuss one of them. Let’s explore the benefits of outsourcing your component testing and whether it makes sense for you.
Benefits of Outsourcing
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With the market constantly evolving, companies are being forced to develop more diverse product portfolios, forcing them to understand unfamiliar performance envelopes. This results in countless hours spent learning how to test the component before designing and eventually purchasing test equipment. Test labs may allow you to speed up the process, achieving iterative results without a significant upfront investment.
Even with a modular test platform like ours, the factory acceptance cycle time will be at least 16 weeks for one of our productized systems. If you have seriously tight time restraints to test a prototype, we recommend that you utilize a full service test lab (ie. ATA Lab™). If the test lab has the relevant equipment and resources, you can usually begin testing within a month. Our lab focuses on oil and coolant components, so depending on the operating envelope, fixturing may be the only modification required to begin testing.
Free Up Resources & Improve Efficiency
Tying up engineering resources to devise and supervise tests may not be efficient. Utilizing test services allows you to hand off the testing, allowing you to free up resources to allocate to other projects. For durability testing, utilizing operators and internal equipment for thousands of hours on a single program might hinder your company’s growth. For Tier 1 suppliers, time is usually better spent improving or creating new products to sell. Utilizing a full service test lab is essentially like hiring a group of experienced engineers and operators, with advanced testing equipment and a focus on current standards. There should be no need for training. Using test services may result in a better utilization of resources for fast-moving engineering teams. In the case of ATA Lab™, a weekly status call and email update keeps in you informed.
Is it Right For You?
Do you have budget restraints?
We hear it all the time, “We want to test for this, but it isn’t in the budget this year” or, “The customer was asking us for ___ but we don’t have anything in-house for that”. Don’t allow your scope or ability to meet customer requirements to fall short due to a capital budget restraint. Test lab services (like ATA Lab™) are considered an operating expense and usually are not subject to the level of financial scrutiny that capital purchases are. Full service labs effectively expand your scope; ATA Lab™ has all of the standard test profiles, including rapid cold temperature testing, waterfall tests, thermal cycling, aeration measurement and so much more. It would be a significant investment to procure these resources from scratch.
Are you behind on your project(s)?
Nothing looks worse than being behind on a project. It is a quick way to lose rapport, trust and future business with a customer. Furthermore, missing a milestone may impact your reputation in the industry. Having a test lab readily available can be an insurance policy, especially when rapid prototyping may require testing to commence within a month, to a specific set of requirements.
Are you understaffed?
The truth is, “an employee working 60 hours a week for two months will produce less overall than the same employee working 40 hours a week for the same time period”. Although it is important to generate revenue and for your staff to grow in their careers, both can lead to the difficult (and frequent) problem of being understaffed. Worst of all, when you have people on the floor working late hours and doing too many things at once, you are creating safety hazards by human error. The last thing you want is a workplace injury. Think of a full service test lab as an extension to your team, freeing up hands and minds by effectively adding capacity at a another facility.
So is it better to outsource your testing? The short answer is YES, IF you have time, budget and resource constraints. Investment in equipment tends to make sense for R&D labs with a fresh budget, longer customer timelines and/or ambitious growth projections. Test services such as ATA Lab™ are great for increasing efficiency, getting projects back on track quickly and freeing up hands-on-deck, all for a cost that is more affordable than purchasing capital equipment.