Are you thinking of outsourcing work overseas to a country like India or the Philippines? If yes, and if you have a long-term outsourcing plan, then my No. 1 outsourcing tip for you, before you outsource any work, would be for you to actually go on-site.
Yes, to travel overseas and actually visit on-site the outsourcing vendors you are thinking of partnering with.
Trust me when I say that nothing will help you get outsourcing right as much as visiting vendors on-site. Travelling all the way to say India or the Philippines might sound like a heavy up-front investment of time and money; but actually, it is not. Think about it. How much revenue will the project you are thinking of outsourcing overseas bring if completed successfully? $150,000, $250,000, $400,000 may be even more? Or, if you are not outsourcing a project, but rather planning to set up a dedicated offshore team of say 5, 10 or even 50 staff, how much do you stand to save if all goes well? $250,000/year, $0.5 million/year, $5 million a year?
Travelling overseas might seem like an inconvenience, but if you compare the cost/time of a 4-5 day trip against the potential opportunity gains, they pale in comparison. Proportionately speaking, going on-site is actually a very small investment, but more importantly, a very diligent one.
Let’s not also forget that if you get outsourcing wrong and have to go through several trials and errors before you get it right, you will end up losing significantly more time and money than you would have, had you just gone on-site in the first place.
Going on-site can also help you gain clarity if you are “on the fence” about whether you should outsource or not. The economic principles of outsourcing are as well established as the theories of Adam Smith and modern economics itself. And you struggle to think of any large multinational corporations that does not outsource. Hence, given that outsourcing is a proven business practice, if you are an established SMB (small to medium sized business) is it not merely business prudence for you to comprehensively determine if outsourcing is a good fit for your organization? It may reaffirm your belief that outsourcing overseas would not be compatible with you company or it might clarify a lot of doubts. Either way, surely there is clear value in making a truly informed decision on outsourcing rather than one based on assumptions?
Despite going on-site being the best endeavor you can undertake to ensure you get outsourcing right, the irony is that less than 1% of all clients actually visit outsourcing vendors on-site before outsourcing. Perhaps this is why many companies get outsourcing wrong and end up partnering with rogue outsourcing companies.
Hopefully, I have made a good case for why visiting offshore outsourcing vendors on-site before you outsource is a worthwhile exercise. To learn why I so strongly advocate this position, click here to read my next blog post – Why Visiting Outsourcing Firms On-site is So Helpful for Getting Outsourcing Right.