Pros and Cons of using a local vs remote supplier for outsourcing custom LabVIEW-based test systems

Access to the vendor

Local

Often, a local vendor can get to you quicker than a remote vendor.  This benefit generally comes more into play during the project scoping and support periods, because during development of the solution there’s generally not a need to be on-site.

Remote

During development, quicker access is generally not an issue because the process usually goes: requirements gathering, implementation, integration at the vendor’s site, commissioning/acceptance at the customer’s site.  All of these are pretty well-planned events.

Tools like TeamViewer for remote desktops and the old-fashioned phone call go a long way to working through scoping and issues after delivery.

Cost of travel

Local

Traveling to your facility will be less expensive: driving is less costly than flying.  There are also usually hotel and food expenses to factor in.

If the project duration is less than ~2 weeks and the vendor is needed on-site, it generally makes sense to consider a local vendor first, unless some other overriding need (expertise, availability) forces you outside your local area.

Remote

Often, remote desktop tools like TeamViewer can be used to reduce or eliminate the need for travel. Including an engineering screen in the application can alleviate time on-site by enabling local engineers to troubleshoot basic issues, such as wiring, before the vendor arrives.

If the scope of the effort is greater than ~2 weeks, travel costs are a smaller portion of the overall project cost.

You also want to balance the cost of travel as just one factor amongst several others (e.g. capability, ease of working with the vendor, total solution cost).

Size/scope of Effort

Local

If you only need some straightforward LabVIEW code developed that you expect will only take a week or two when all is said and done, a small local vendor may be totally sufficient.

Remote

If you need a turnkey solution delivered, there are likely to be less vendors able to provide what you need locally.  A turnkey solution might include not only LabVIEW software, but racks/enclosures, signal conditioning, and cabling.

Specificity of effort

Local

If all you need is some basic LabVIEW developed, with no specific industry, domain, or technology expertise, you’ll likely find what you need locally.

Remote

If you need someone with specific industry, domain, or technology expertise, you will likely benefit from seeking remote capability.

Cost of living impacts

Local

If you live in a small city or town, you may find a lower cost to using a local vendor, even if your options are limited.

Remote

If you live in or are considering a vendor from a major metro area, you may be surprised that a remote vendor has lower total cost because of the lower cost of living in their region.

There’s some food for thought.  If you’d like to learn how Viewpoint fits your scenario, see problems we solve and check out our capabilities.

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