The shortage of engineers and technical specialists in the D-A-CH region, as well as the intensified competitive situation for many companies due to globalization, is increasingly turning numerous technology companies of all sizes into centralized engineering competence centers abroad. In order to continue in a successful position and succeed in national and international markets, they nowadays have to produce faster, better, more flexibly and, ideally, cheaper than their competitors.

A centralized engineering collaboration will lead to further modularization in system planning, and projects can be further standardized. By pooling synergies, knowledge will be more condensed, errors will be better recognized and avoided in the future. In addition, adjustments to new markets and the adoption of new technologies can be completed more quickly thanks to the collected knowledge.

However, such centralization also carries risks. For example, if unforeseeable events such as a strike or a natural disaster affect the processes in the competence center, all of the engineering capacities could suddenly be eliminated. To exclude such a risk as well as to further increase the efficiency, a global distribution over the time zones could help. For example, software engineering for a control system could be streamlined by preparing parts of the code in India, which are then programmed in the Czech Republic in the afternoon and then handed over to Mexico for review (as shown in the illustration above). This would promote a nearly 24-hour process and utilize the capacity at all three sites.

For sure, this process requires a well- organized workflow and project planning, for example, based on the Kanban method, in which the number of parallel work, the work in progress (WiP), is limited and thus problems – especially bottlenecks – could be made quickly visible. In combination with a clearly defined mutual obligation to obtain information and to pass on the necessary information itself, the organization of the tasks can be clearly regulated.

These types of engineering services are not only worthwhile for corporations, but also for medium- sized companies. However these are still often reserved and can thus escape a competitive advantage over competitors from home and abroad.

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