AM Design

The Pros and Cons of Offshore Outsourcing

Offshore outsourcing can be a mixed blessing for many business owners who are looking for budget design options.

Over the past few years, more and more companies are turning to offshore companies to outsource their design requirements, whether for website development or graphic design.

Fast internet speeds, cloud accounts and technologies like Skype allow for the kind of interaction that only used to be possible with in-house staff.

offshore outsourcingWhile the prospect of employing someone living in a third world country who will work for a micro amount of what a local professional can afford to work for is very attractive, the truth is that you often get what you pay for.  We've outlined some of the benefits below and followed these up with some of the down sides.

We get so much work from individuals and companies who have had disastrous experiences that we have no problems with seeing people head off in that direction - we know that in 9 cases out of 10 we can save you a lot of time, hair pulling, teeth gnashing and yes, money, by explaining the pitfalls. Of course its up to you whether you heed the warnings or not. All we can say is - do a lot of research.

The Pros of Offshore Outsourcing

There are a number of solid benefits to outsourcing:

  • You save on manpower and training costs and avoid the cost of expensive technology.
  • You are able to concentrate more on your core business.
  • Allows you to focus on strategic thinking, process re-engineering and managing trading partner relationships.
  • You can access specialised skills and services at a fraction of the cost.
  • Improved production may lead to increased customer satisfaction and more efficient delivery of your products and services.
  • A significant reduction in overheads.
  • Gives your business a competitive edge.
  • Better control of operating costs.

There are obvious benefits to having a sub contractor working in their own office paying their own electricity, using their own equipment and paying their own superannuation. If you choose your offshore outsourcing wisely, an excellent working relationship can evolve which is to the mutual benefit of both parties.

The Cons of Offshore Outsourcing

For the business on a budget, the concept of employing someone based in a third world country who can work for minimal dollars per hour or a pathetically small fixed rate is a major attraction.

One big downside to this is the communication issue. Have you ever been frustrated with trying to understand another accent when dealing with a telecommunications issue? Especially after waiting for 20 minutes in a phone queue...

Aside from aural understanding, there is the problem of technical understanding, design interpretation and cultural understanding - knowing how we do business here.

There is a great deal of competition amongst offshore outsourcers and it's highly probable that some may exaggerate their ability in order to score the job and then use the opportunity of your project to learn a new skill, which means of course that you will receive a very second rate job. Getting your project repaired by someone trustworthy and experienced may then cost you as much as it might have to get it done properly in the first place.

Time Differences
Sometimes the time difference can be in your favour - you provide the job description and go to bed and the job is done in the morning. It sounds really good, and for small jobs it can actually work too. Most times though, this is not the case. Even if you've found an outsourcer with very good communication, if they haven't interpreted your requirements accurately, then you will have another 24 hours to wait until you can see new results. Very stressful if you are in a hurry.

Probably the greatest downside to outsourcing overseas is the same one that causes you to hire a mechanic to fix your car, a plumber to fix your leaking toilet and an accountant to do your tax: experts do a better job than amateurs. Believing that you can project manage a project that you don't have the technical know-how to do yourself can leave you wide open to the charlatan effect.

Of course you don't have to go offshore to have an unhappy experience, and communication can be just as big a problem here, but that's a topic for another article, perhaps one entitled "Client Expectations and Assumptions".


Call us today on 07 5345 6011 or 0418 723 886 for more information.


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