Outsourcing to save money is a no brainer. Outsourcing to get the job done well is service at a whole other level.
Depending on the industry, U.S. businesses are looking beyond their old late night call center buddies in India for cost effective, well-made products and services. Southeast Asia, South America and the Balkan nations are also home to highly educated, skilled professional experts working at bargain basement prices – for now.
Facilitators like iCatchit do make it easier to transition offshore, but still, the first time doing business is often a messy time -- even when the source comes highly recommended.
“They test you out too,” says product designer Nydia Cisneros. “They want to see how detailed you want the work done. Communication is critical.”
But once ground rules are established, people abroad tend to be more disciplined that those domestically, Cisneros says. “I find people never repeat the same errors, they don’t make up excuses, or miss deadlines. They'll deliver maybe two days of production in 12 hours or less.”
Vietnam is particularly good. “They’re a day ahead and they’ve always been better than on time,” says Cisneros, who’s worked with photo and image production professionals in the southeast nation for five years. Cost-wise, domestic companies Cisneros outsourced to charged $20 to $250 a clipping path. In Vietnam the cost dropped $0.75 to $2.
For web production experts Roberto Sequeira, the founder of Glace Luxury Ice, didn’t want to go the traditional Indian route for his outsourced talent. He looked to experts in Brazil to build his site. When his Brazil contact got too pricy, he took looked to the Philippines for more affordable skilled help.
Latin America’s experienced labor force is getting more popular now, and Chile is a major contributor to the global market. Nicolo Gligo, the executive director for the U.S. office of the nation’s economic development agency, CORFO, says since the country really began outsourcing in 2000 to companies such as Citigroup, Oracle, Synopsys and Yahoo, all have opened offices there.
Working in the same time zone as the U.S. has proven an invaluable productivity and quality of service advantage. “A big problem in India now is turnover,” says Gligo. “Being in a different time zone, people don’t want to work all night. Being in the right zone makes a big difference.”
Faux Museum’s Suzette Mehler still prefers India, but has found the Balkan countries and Pakistan much cheaper. She also found India’s reputation for really understanding customer service indispensable when a programmer in India accidentally failed to back up her website.
“He rebuilt it at no charge,” says Mehler, who outsources to India also for the backend administrative tech services. “This wouldn’t have happened working with Pakistan or the Ukraine. I would have eaten not just the time loss but incurred more costs.”
Cisneros recently started outsourcing her web work to Russia but still relies on India. “Russia is great with real complex navigation. India is great for e-commerce sites,” says Cisneros. “Which makes sense: They have that insight of knowing what exactly works and what doesn’t thanks to their understanding of the customer service end of things.”
“Even if I don’t think to go to India first,” says Cisneros. “I always think of India as an outsourcing option.”