The 5 Most Common Outsourcing Concerns
Wary about outsourcing to India? Scared your publication will loose it’s design identity? Concerned about communication? The answers to these common questions will ease your nerves about outsourcing production overseas.
Concern #1: I don’t want to lose creative control of the design of my magazine.
Outsourcing production does not mean your magazine will lack creativity or style. The publisher sets and expectations for the design with the parameter of the style sheets long before the outsourcing cycle becomes active. Your magazine will be produced with the same integrity as it would if you were outsourcing to an art director in another state or if the pages were being flowed in-house. The more specific you are on the aesthetic with your account manager, the more specific your team in India will be. Or, you may grant the designers in India a certain amount of design freedom depending on your comfort level. The only real limitation is that the free-flowing design component of your publication needs to be somewhat agreed upon upfront. That does not mean however, that alterations can’t be made on a circumstantial basis.
Concern #2: How will the 12-hour time difference between the U.S. and India affect communication and workflow?
Time works in your favor when you outsource to India. Essentially, work is sent at the end of the day from the U.S. and is executed overnight in India and delivered the next day, depending on the amount of work. Many operations overseas are open six days a week, 24-hours a day so there is always someone in the office to answer calls or e-mail questions.
Concern #3: I fear a communication gap due to the language barrier.
English is the predominant language of business throughout India. Most outsourcing providers staff only college-educated employees, most of which are fluent in English. They are familiar with idiomatic expressions, the language of the Internet and the language of workflow and design. Some providers also offer a domestic project manager service to initially manage the relationship and take care of any issues in the early stages of the process. Over time, this person is often eliminated from the process, with the publisher communicating directly with their production team overseas.
Concern #4: How do I ensure my reduction of in-house staff members runs smoothly?
Reducing staff is one of the biggest issues for publishers moving production offshore. Many companies outsourcing production to India are small- to medium-sized publishers with small staffs to begin with. You will have the ability to eliminate most of your production positions, but most publishers keep one or two members on staff in house. Try redirecting the remainder of your production staffers to other departments. As much as letting people go will be difficult, if you are serious about saving money on production costs, you have to reduce headcount as people are a huge expense.
“Outsourcing brings up negativity no matter what because people are going to be losing jobs,” says Jim McQueen, vice president of technology and development for Cadmus Communications. “We need to get out of that mindset. In the global environment people are always looking to reduce costs and its looked at negatively because it always goes to the lowest price. What we’ve built here is an American company that has facilities in India, with the like mentality we have in the U.S. of getting things done with quick turnaround.”
Concern #5: What happens if there are last minute changes that need to be made?
Changes to your publication can be made easily at the last minute by your in-house production staff members or a U.S.-based support staff. Outsourcing to India works just like outsourcing domestically. Offshore teams work in the same production platforms including Quark and InDesign, which allows changes to be made quickly and easily.