Building up an ID FIRM - engineering input

Hello people of ID…

My question to you all is, when building up a design firm where does the engineering input come from? Is it from engineers employed by the design firm, comissioned freelance engineers or the clients engineers?

thanks a lot…

Depending on the project, the size of the firm, and its business strategy, it could be all three cases, a combination of two or only one. It could even be none at all, if the designers have expereince under their belt and the project is not too complex.

Ditto what the previous Guest post said…

It really depends on the kind of services you want to offer. Lots of corporations use the engineering support of their manufacturing houses, and a lot have internal engineers or engineering managers and only outsource for design needs…

There are engineering firms just like there are ID firms, I know a lot have formed “alliances” in order to help each other out on projects that require it.

If you’ve got a client list, or at least a wish list, that could tell you what you need to be able to provide…

I know in POP, most places (agency-type design houses) have only Industrial Designers/artists and project managers. The engineering is provided by a few manufacturers that they have “vested interests” in. The engineers at each manufacturer provide different areas of expertise depending on what they manufacture, wire, wood. thermal forming, corrugated, ext…

My company is dealing with this issue right now. We currently rely on either the clients engineers (Usually only the larger manufacturers) or we subcontract to an engineering firm. We are now looking at the feasibility of offering engineering services through an in house engineer.
So to answer your question: when starting out I would suggest subcontracting the more complex engineering aspects of the project. Usually the first contracts / clients / projects you get as a new firm are not that complex so having an engineer on staff just adds to your costs.
Further, Engineers can be expensive, they require lots of attention and care, dont always play nice with others. They drink and eat more than most designers and they always complain that they need new / better hardware and software! Plus not all of them are house trained!

…they always complain that they need new / better hardware and software!

…LOL!

I think the option of a manufacturing vendor doing the heavy engineering (as Povd@wg) suggested is pretty common, especially for injection molded housings and what not.

It is good to have an engineer on your side to help ensure design intergity though, or a relationship with the vendor that ensures you get a quality result.

Further, Engineers can be expensive, they require lots of attention and care, dont always play nice with others. They drink and eat more than most designers and they always complain that they need new / better hardware and software! Plus not all of them are house trained!

I don’t know how to take this. Some of us have engineering degrees you know!!! And we really don’t eat that much. Designers just don’t usually have money so have gotten used to not eating that much. Stomachs have shrunk!

But i agree with most of the posts. I think if your business is expanding then it’s good to have someone in house otherwise it might be cheaper to outsource

Further, Engineers can be expensive, they require lots of attention and care, dont always play nice with others. They drink and eat more than most designers and they always complain that they need new / better hardware and software! Plus not all of them are house trained!

Hee Hee! That’s just one person’s opinion of course. I had my engineer come over and take a peek and we both got a little chuckle. While he was reading the post though, he did take a bite of my sandwich.

It was not meant to be an insult. It was said with love. I am the only designer in a family of engineers so i could not help taking the piss, sorry

My wording may have twisted Casper’s statement alittle. Sorry Casper!

Sorry!!! Sarcasm doesn’t travel well in text. I really wasn’t offended. i thought it was funny and POv’s follow up with the sandwhich had me rollin…

i know this is Core but not every post is a flame. hehe

Thanks a lot guys, I now have a general idea of what the tendency is. We have collaborated with clients’ engineers in the past but there does not seem to be a clear point as to when to actually employ en engineer for the “heavier” projects. I guess it also depends on what future plans are. In any case it seems an in-house engineer is an investment and thats how one should be seen as.

thanks again…