An AV Integrators Plan For Successful Labor Outsourcing

Written 2013-12-04 by Chris Bianchet

It is pretty safe to say that we all run into times when our workload exceeds our internal resources.

For AV Integrators, this will always happen when you least expect it.  It just seems to work that way.

That is precisely why more and more AV Integrators are turning to 3rd party companies (like ours) for help when labor needs come up quickly and the resources just aren’t available in house.

While we would love for everyone to reach out to us when they do have outsource labor needs, truth be told, we just want to see integrators and 3rd party installation firms do a better job of getting on the same page.

Because in the end, whether it is us or someone else, when projects go well, it makes everyone look better.

Where Outsourced Projects Go Wrong

After working with dozens of AV Integrators on hundreds of projects around the world, we have found that the labor itself is only the issue a small percentage of the time.

So long as the outsourced firm that is hired is qualified and capable, there really is no reason that the project shouldn’t go well.

Most often the hurdles we run into lie in the details and the communication.

With outsourced labor teams not tied into the day-to-day operations, it creates a huge opportunity for things to be missed.

It can be little things like the open, job site hours or hard hat requirements, to big important details like who the key contacts are onsite or when the job is supposed to be handed over.

These things seem so logical, but trust us when we say…from time to time they are missed.

So for a better outsourcing experience, we have created this handy little checklist.

The Checklist:  What to Have Ready for Successful Project Outsourcing

Through the eyes of an outsourced labor partner…

  • Clear scope of work
    • Outline exactly what the outsourced labor company will do versus your internal resources.
      • i.e. division of programming, configuration, physical installation
  • What time should the installers be onsite
    • Outline specific site rules and regulations
    • Define the policy on overtime?
  • Where are Materials
    • A list of all project materials
      • Equipment
      • Miscellaneous consumables
      • Equipment not yet arrived
      • Owner Furnished Equipment
  • Testing
    • Will the labor provider be responsible for QA?
      • Some integrators want to have internal resources handle this
        • If not, integrator should provide QA checklist
        • When is QA to completed
  • System Delivery and Training
    • Clarify end-user training
      • Provide a training/delivery checklist
        • Often determining if the outsourced firm can substantially handle training is important since many installers are not trainers.
  • Dedicated Project Management
    • Who is the first, and ideally, only point of contact for the installation team onsite?
    • Are there other contractors on site?
      • Who are they?
      • Are they part of the AV Implementation?
      • Other Trades?
  • Regular Communications and Expectations
    • When should labor check in with project manager
    • How will regular updates be provided?
    • Site visits (daily, weekly)
    • Are clear expectations set?

While no list is ever 100% guaranteed for something as dynamic as AV Installation projects, following the list above can assure you that your outsource labor projects will go better.

What has your organization found to be the best way to ensure successful project outsourcing?  We’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your thoughts below.