Panel Builds: When to in-house and when to outsource

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We all strive for expertise in panel builds, but how much do you really know about when panel builds are best done in-house and when you should outsource the project?

If you’re in the fabrication industry, more than likely you know a lot about building machines and other equipment but before you decide to bring panel building back in-house because it seems like a good bottom-line decision, take a few moments to consider the real costs of such a project. 


There’s a valid business reason why companies initially outsource: most companies don’t have the expertise in-house to handle panel building.  Remember to consider the following:

1. Operating expenses for special programming or engineering expertise.

Panel building is a different skill set than machine building. A deciding factor in whether to bring panel builds in-house is your staff’s ability to handle PLCs.

For instance, it is extremely important to understand how PLC’s work, and how to control them, specifically in relation to panel builds.

Having an internal team that has the expert knowledge and skill set is key for efficiency. Teaching ladder logic for programming a PLC for panel builds is often expensive and requires time.

2. Your company’s production schedule and man-power.

Be sure that the staffing level is adequate to complete all of your tasks. If you don’t have the numbers or the skills of a qualified team, the hidden costs can sneak up on you and can easily override any economic incentive to keeping the panel build process in-house, particularly if it’s not something your company does on a continuing basis.

In a nutshell, knowledge of industry standards and certifications with respect to panel builds should be the number one factor of your decision to in-house or outsource. Learning curves cost down time. If you don’t have these two elements in hand it’s best to reach out to a manufacturing company who does. Not only will it save you money in the long run, it’ll also relieve some stress!

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