The ongoing debate over outsourcing is full of misconceptions, misleading claims and miscommunications— and it just got even more complicated as it takes center stage in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. As politicians argue over the consequences of outsourcing and what the government should be doing about it, the outsourcing industry takes serious hits as it gets caught up in the crossfire.
The issue at hand circulates around the controversy that U.S. companies are “sending jobs overseas” and American employees are losing their jobs and opportunities because of it. Americans fear a failing economy as more and more US companies, in pursuit of global competitiveness, jump on the outsourcing bandwagon. To make matters worse, U.S. President Barack Obama who is campaigning for his second and last term as President, is promising to “insource” jobs back to the U.S. if he is re-elected while attacking the outsourcing industry at the same time.
In their article, “Caught in the xeno-bamia crossfire, these are dangerous times for the “outsourcing” industry”, Horses for Sources (HfS), the leading analyst authority for the global services industry, pointed out to its readers “Outsourcing” is the symptom of an increasingly competitive global economy, not the cause of America’s economic woes” and that Obama should be focusing instead on the reasons why U.S. companies are turning to outsourcing.
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To start with, overseas labor is cheaper and abundant. Plus, more and more companies are finding “talents” overseas. The number of U.S. companies that hire overseas due to the availability of competitive and qualified personnel is increasing. Leveraging on the availability of low-cost global talent to improve productivity and growth keeps companies globally competitive.
The reality is that the global business scene is becoming more competitive and that everyone— from companies and corporations to countries and governments— must think in terms of global business services.
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Financial news and data authority, Bloomberg, pointed out in their article “Outsourcing: Where’s Uncle Sam?” that “free trade benefits countries, whether that trade is in goods or services.” In outsourcing’s case, it’s simply that services are being traded across different countries instead of goods.
The article went on to point out: “Countries that embrace global workforces will benefit economically. Those that try to block international trade in services will suffer serious consequences.”
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One of the major concerns when outsourcing certain business processes to an offshore location is the issue of maintaining the quality of either products or services associated with the brand. There is always the risk that the outsourcing service provider may not be able to deliver the service/product at the quality level accustomed by the outsourcer’s customers. As such, though companies are reaping the cost benefits of offshore outsourcing, there is still an ongoing struggle to maintain quality standards.
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Two-Tiered Approach to Quality Assurance
It is best to implement a two-tiered approach to quality assurance especially in the case of offshore outsourcing. As much as possible, quality must be checked immediately in the offshore facility by the service provider’s QA team and again locally by the client’s QA team, before it reached the client’s customers. This way, quality is double checked by both parties.
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Continuous Improvement through QA Results
Most importantly, the best way to improve value in outsourcing services is in implementing a culture of continuous improvement. By constantly monitoring project progress on a regular basis and keeping tabs on how QA results can be implemented towards the improvement of the delivery and quality of outsourcing services.
In theory, a quality assurance plan devised to improve quality standards of outsourcing services may seem achievable; but then it may not always be possible in actual scenarios. It is necessary that both client and outsourcing service provider be totally in sync in implementing the QA plan. The stakes are certainly high and both parties cannot afford to lose in this quality assurance initiative for outsourcing services.
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