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Outsourcing your Dimensional Measurements

Why outsource your dimensional measurements?

There have been 3 phases of development…

  1. Finding someone who could do the job better, faster, cheaper, or all 3.
  2. Strategic cost savings, freed resources for even higher value producing activities.
  3. Outsourcing partners becoming sources of innovation to help create new ways of doing business.

Natural resistance to change, and its not easy!

Outsourcing can be a strategic tool for making your business more productive & profitable …if you know when to take advantage of it.

Top reasons for Outsourcing


The text books say…

“Consider the following criteria when deciding whether to outsource….”

  • The activity isn’t central to generating profits or competitive success.
  • The job is a routine one that wastes valuable time & energy.
  • The task is a need that’s only temporary or that recurs in cycles.
  • The activity can be done cheaper in-house, but drains resources that could be better used elsewhere.
  • The skill required is so specialised that its impractical to have a regular employee do it.
  • The activity isn’t one that people enjoy doing.’


  • Too much work, lack of Resources.
  • Shortage of staff due to holidays/illness.
  • Test before you invest.
  • Outsourcing your

  • Independent Verification.
  • Breakdown of equipment.
  • Calibration of equipment.
  • Shortage of funds to maintain skill levels and or equipment.

Once you’ve decided to outsource:

Some tips for finding and working with a company that’s right for you…..

  • Do your homework.
  • Select a compatible company.
  • Establish the standards you expect.
  • Arrange for constant communication.
  • Secure insurance for emergencies.

Do your homework

Where can I Outsource to?

  • Ask companies in your area for recommendations.
  • Internet directories e.g. Quality Today/Applegate/UKAS.
  • Various Measurement & Test Centres around the UK.
  • Ask for client references and interview them to determine how reliable and flexible their services are.
  • What equipment do they have.
  • Do they offer a Collection & Delivery Service

Selecting a compatible company

Choose a contract measurement company that understands your needs and can accommodate them.

  • Does the Test Centre have a quality system?
  • How qualified are the staff?
  • How flexible are they ~ specialised discipline?
  • Do they have the communication skills?
  • ‘Drop-in’ centre for quick turnaround?
  • Security of information?
  • Procedures for inspection and recording?
  • Goods Inwards/Quarantine/Despatch?
  • Adequate Insurance Cover?

Establish the standards you expect

Outsourcing will mean the loss of direct control & supervision

  • Failure to comprehend and understand the full extent of what is required.
  • Data Transfers.
  • Immediate feedback once errors in part measurement occur.
  • How accurate is the equipment used?
  • How regularly is it monitored/audited?
  • Does the supplier keep adequate records?
  • Does supplier use the latest technology.
  • Most importantly, check up on the company that it is doing the job correctly.

Arrange for constant communication

  • Schedule regular meetings…
  • to Discuss day to day issues…
  • to Prevent potential problems…
  • & Improve how your business operates


Secure insurance for emergencies

  • Make sure you have a backup system in place in the event that the outsourcing company can’t carry through.

What is available?

  • Consultancy.
  • Hiring of temporary staff for on-site work.
  • Hiring of equipment.
  • Hiring of man & machine for on or off-site.
  • Turn key projects…

“Because QC suppliers are not manufacturers, they can devote their attention entirely to measurement expertise.”

What can you expect?

  • Flexibility to satisfy YOUR needs… out of hours working, weekends etc
  • Either single part or batch measurement.
  • ISIR / FAIR thru to SPC Analysis.
  • Discounts for Contractual work.
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Part Programming / Fixturing / Pallet Loading


  • How accurate is the equipment used?
  • How regularly is it monitored/audited?
  • Do they have records?
  • Use of Artefacts & Machine Checking Gauges.

Machine environment & equipment monitoring


Qualified staff

  • Customer Focussed
  • Computer Literate
  • Understand Engineering Drawings
  • GD&T familiarisation
  • Correct use of equipment
  • Application of Measurement Principles
  • Continual Professional Development

Understanding the costs & the time required?

In order that a supplier can provide a cost for the task of measurement testing, certain time estimates are needed to be defined to arrive at a price eg

  1. Time to Study the drawing or CAD file.
  2. Time to Define the fixturing requirement.
  3. Time to Temperature ‘Soak’ the part
  4. Time to Set up the probing accessibility.
  5. Time to Define the Component 3-2-1 Part Alignment & Datums.
  6. Time to Compile the Operator Instructions.
  7. Time to Measure the part.
  8. Time Produce the Inspection report.
  9. Time to ‘Mark-Up’ the engineering drawing to correspond with the testing report

Probe configurations

Probe configurations 1PH10M, TP20, 30mm Extension, 1mm by 20mm Stylus
Angles: 0/0,90/90,90/-90,105/0,105/-7.5,15/180,15/-90,45/-135,45/45,75/165,75/-180,75/180,82.5/172.5,82.5/-90,90/-135,90/-165,90/-180

Probe configurations 2PH10M, TP20, 5mm Extension, 0.5mm by 10mm Stylus
Angles: 0/0,75/-180,90/7.5,90/-90

Probe configurations 3PH10M, TP20, 2mm by 20mm Stylus
Angles: 0/0,90/112.5,90/75,90/90,90/97.5

Sample quote


Typical examples

Typical Examples


  • CMM Software is constantly being developed.
  • Technological innovation of equipment and accessories, with the emphasis on standardisation is transforming the marketplace.
  • Product times to market are getting shorter.
  • Shortage of labour skills.
  • The demand for the Outsourcing of Dimensional Measurement expertise is increasing.


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