I read with interest, Walter Kwami's feature article on outsourcing expertise (Ghana Homepage; dated 04 March 2004) and would like to add the following commentary.
As a Ghanaian qualified and UK trained mechanical engineer it is very clear to me that outsourcing is not always the best path forward for our beloved industries.
In contracts/purchase orders for the procurement of equipment or plant, it is essential that such orders/contracts cover operational training and experience transfer, including the provision of full technical documentation covering planned maintenance and inspection schedules/programmes. for the personnel who will have day to day responsibility for maintaining the performance of the equipment or plant, Sadly, in many contracts placed, these aspects are excluded and hence we end up with the ridiculous situation of the local Ghanaian engineers and technicians being discredited by not being able to bring faulty equipment back into full operation within a reasonable time frame.
By outsourcing to a specialist engineer/technician from the original equipment manufacturer, we then have to pay the hefty fees they sometimes correctly charge, whereas, the situation could easily have been avoided if a bit more foresight and imagination had been put into preparing the original purchasing/contracting documents.
It may of course cost that bit more in terms of the initial capital expenditure, but would surely work out cheaper in the long term, when the total life cycle cost of repairs and maintenance using local Ghanaian talent as oposed to imported expertise is factored in.
Yours sincerely, P. Kwame Ntow Chartered Engineer & Project Quality Manager Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.