45 Tips for Sourcing Work Overseas
24 If labor conditions concern you, ask if the vendor is Disney certified. [Disney Publishing Worldwide sends auditors to overseas facilities to ensure that any offshore partners it works with meets strict standards on labor conditions.]
Selecting a partner
Once you've narrowed down potential countries to explore, the next step is evaluating potential partners.
25 One of the best ways to find a partner is to ask for a referral from a trusted member of the publishing community.
26 Look for U.S. representation. While some offshore [vendors] who do not have U.S. representation will work directly with you, communication entirely by e-mail often breaks down.
27 Look for a history of stable performance. Brokers can often provide excellent pricing, but longevity and reputation are paramount. Some will cut and run when problems arise, leaving publishers without recourse.
28 If your company is small, working exclusively with one vendor may increase your clout. Large buyers should use multiple vendors to spread risk.
29 An Internet search will yield a lot of companies, but little information. Judge inquiries by the response time and readability of English in their response.
30 Any printer can post a pretty Web page, so it helps to visit the facilities of any partners you are seriously considering. Some printers will pay tour costs for large prospects.
31 If you are able to visit potential partners' sites, be sure to prepare questions to ask management and observe employee behavior closely. This can be helpful to both publishers and U.S. printers.
—David N. Mead, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Banta Book Group
32 Having the right partner is key to outsourcing—make sure the vendor's capabilities fit your requirements. Knowing your requirements is of course the first step.
33 Ensure there are no hidden costs—be clear on processes you want outsourced, and insist on transparency in pricing. Be prepared to work at the relationship to get results.