Special Report: Today’s Global Sourcing Market
Once guidelines and standards for a project are set, “you can start to look at little tasks that need to be done and what can be sliced off to go offshore,” she says. “And those are tasks that are fairly repetitive, don’t really need a lot of direction, aren’t highly conceptual or leaving a lot of creative license to the other end.”
Yet, even these limits are being pushed as offshoring companies compete to be a single-source solution for clients. Schaefer says Aquent has sent people from other countries to a client’s site for training purposes. “This really creates a wonderful bridge in communication and execution. And when they get back, they can train their people. It makes for a more effective workflow process than just dealing with e-mails would have.”
Aptara encourages frequent visits by project managers from India and invites clients to visit production facilities.
“For critical projects, we will put managers on-site,” Singh says. “You’ve got to make it seamless so that people can do their work without thinking there’s a difference in between.”
Despite these innovations, the outsourcing of content management has not proven to be a viable option for all publishers, for reasons similar to those cited by Schaefer.
“We have full [composition] capabilities in-house and, considering the back and forth here in house, I just can’t see it working well overseas,” notes Craley, of Stackpole Books.
While Random House Children’s Books does not directly outsource any of its prepress work overseas, Collins knows that some of its U.S.- and Canadian-based compositors do.
“We haven’t found an overseas compositor with a workflow plan that works as well as what we’ve got here,” she says, “though [compositors we work with] are sub-sourcing some of this work offshore.”
There’s universal agreement among those who spoke to Book Business that companies offering offshore services and the vendors they work with should have a firm, permanent presence in the United States.