Absolute Services, Inc.

Initial Questions to Ask About Outsourcing


As more and more companies are beginning to look at ways to reduce internal costs and manage the level of onsite staff, the idea of outsourcing has become a more popular management strategy in today’s business world. We see many companies sending their customer service phone support offshore, the increased use of subcontractors and freelancers to complete a variety of different tasks, and third party support of a variety of different office administrative tasks such as IT support, accounting and billing management, and HR/payroll oversight—just to name a few. Within the publishing industry, outsourcing has been a widely used practice for the last decade as the price of production and demand of the market to find more cost-effective solutions have been the center of budgetary discussions among publishers and content providers. Oftentimes, however, this discussion has not included the hidden costs involved in outsourcing and the all-important keys to ensuring a successful strategy when employing this approach.

The first thing to remember about outsourcing is that, contrary to popular belief, it is not simply sending work offshore. Outsourcing can include a host of different resources, including offshore companies, U.S. companies with an offshore division, subcontractors that are solely based in the U.S., or freelancers (independently employed individuals, either onshore of offshore, which offer a host of different services). The first step to a successful outsourcing strategy is determining which of these types of resources best fit your needs. Ask yourself the following initial questions:

  1. Why am I looking to outsource? Do I have too many internal costs to my level of revenue? Do I need to increase my capacity/production in order to meet growing sales and revenue? Do I need to expand my hours of production by employing resources that will work when my internal resources are not? Are there other reasons?
  2. What are the determining factors that I will use to gauge the success of my outsourcing initiative? Am I strictly looking at the bottom line of costs vs. sales and my profit margins? What other factors do I want to consider? Reduced employee costs? Ability to better utilize and maximize internal resources? Ability to meet increased sales and requirements for more capacity/volume? Others?
  3. Is price the sole determining factor in my decision-making process? Do I want to solely explore offshore options based on this? If so, what is available and do these companies offer the services required to meet my needs? What is the trade-off with engaging these types of companies, and am I prepared to accept these?
  4. Do I want to look at a balance of price and quality by exploring those companies that offer hybrid solutions, with services both within the U.S. and offshore? Again, what trade-offs exist and how do these companies stack up with those companies that are completely offshore?
  5. For the services that I require, are they limited to only U.S. resources? Are their confidential or sensitive material/information/accounts that automatically limit my search to those resources based in the U.S.? If so, do I want to explore actual companies or freelance independent contractors to complete these tasks?

By answering these questions, you will be establishing some loose guidelines that you can refer back to as your start to evaluate resources and outsourcing options. This high level discussion is just the starting point and hopefully provides you with some initial ideas and tips on outsourcing. Always keep in mind your overall goals, and hopefully this advice will assist you in achieving these.

Absolute Service, Inc. is a U.S. company with its own production branch in the Philippines. We also utilize a network of freelancers and subcontractors, along with offshore resources, to offer a hybrid solution that meets our customers’ needs. We provide high-quality and cost effective services to a wide range of publishers, associations, and clients all over the world. If we can be of any assistance in helping you with your outsourcing needs, including initial planning and deployment of an outsourcing strategy, please contact us at asi.info@absoluteserv.com.

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