Offshore Labour

November 6, 2006 at 4:33 am 2 comments

After choosing “Offshore Labour” for my topic, I wasn’t really sure where to start but I finally got the ball rolling. Offshore labour is when a company relocates or expands a part or all of their business to another country for a lower cost.

Searching various websites I found a lot of information. When a company decides to take a big step like this, there are some areas that become a main concern, such as cultural differences. This is sometimes believed to be the main reason an offshore project fails. We need to realize that there are many things that are different all around the world and that we should choose our words and actions wisely.

Other concerns that need to be addressed are language barriers. Sometimes knowing the language is not enough because many accents are different. For example, I could learn the Filipino language but if I were to go to the Philippines they would have a hard time understanding me because the words sound different coming from someone who was born in Canada. Words and accents are very specific. Therefore it is always an asset to hire employees with the best language skills. Times zones can also affect the offshore business because some countries can be nine or more hours apart. There are ways to avoid such issues like setting up hotlines or planning meetings far enough in advance.

It is a good idea that a company is easily accessible and has someone the customer can get a hold of when needed. If I had a small problem with my computer, it would cost more to send it off shore to be fixed then to have it repaired locally. Having to meet with someone face to face is a bonus, that way you can ask as many questions needed.

Cost cutting is the main drive to why businesses send jobs offshore. If someone has the same expertise and is willing to do it for a lower cost, then why not? But in 2003, according to The Economic Times, it was reported that salaries have increased for a second year.

There is a lot to take into consideration if you choose to take your company offshore. Issues like mass job losses and the costs of setting up your new business can be very expensive. There is a need to adapt to big changes and try not to overwhelm your employees by sending everything all at once.

In my research, I found a quote that relates to the bumpy roads ahead for outsourcing your company. It is as follows:
“To make offshore outsourcing work for you, define your strategy before moving forward, and recognize that outsourcing is about more than just costs. Achieving the right balance between local sourcing and outsourcing for your organization enables you to focus on the critical issues and leave the repetitive or commodity services to the outsourcing provider. Be sure to secure solid service-level agreements, meet as many key people in person as possible, and institute a process of regular communication between you and the provider. Above all, keep in mind that your customers want to have a seamless, helpful experience—and no matter how much you’re saving, if customers are unhappy, they’ll go away.”

Helpful sites:
http://www.informit.com/articles/article.asp?p=98153&seqNum=8&rl=1           
 Offshore Outsourcing:  Making It Work
Gives a list of how this can affect public relations.  This was an amazing site for me.

http://www.informit.com/articles/article.asp?p=169548&rl=1           
Offshore Outsourcing:  Will You Job Disappear in 2004?

This article was a really great reference because it gives you some points of latest trends.

Connie Sombrea 

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. prclass  |  November 10, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Connie,
    Great blog- you covered many important factors companies face when moving off shore. An interesting point you touched upon was the fact that companies must be sure to hire employees that can effectively speak the language of the off shore country. As you stated with your example, although many people think they may be fluent in foreign languages, many languages have different dialects that employees must be aware of when they are part of an off shore organization. If employees are not aware of these language barriers, they will surely run into many communications problems.

    Reply
  • 2. prclass  |  November 10, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    That was Audrey’s comment above!

    Reply

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