Special Report: Today’s Global Sourcing Market
“It’s important for a company to work with a rep here in the U.S.A.,” Dick says. “It’s a big mistake to try to work ‘direct’ by e-mail with technicians in China. There’s a very high risk of communication errors. They should also have a U.S. sales office and customer service live from someone who understands printing.”
Craley says she ended up dropping a vendor because it did not have a representative in the United States. “An issue coming up might take two days to resolve,” she says, ”which is why you need someone in the States who has direct contact with facilities in China.”
“Communication sometimes winds up to be the deciding factor in choosing a vendor, all other things being equal,” agrees Collins. “We want to ensure a smooth ride—good customer service, a quick response and solutions to problems without dragging it out of them.”
Aquent Offshore is U.S.-owned and -based, while––as is required of all companies with operations in India––having Indian nationals on its board of directors. Being truly international allows these companies to provide a high level of responsiveness and customer service (Aquent offers 24-hour customer service and no time-zone hassles, thanks to its presence in 17 countries), important to publishers concerned about quality control and security.
“We’re very strict on nondisclosure agreements as part of our recruitment process,” Schaefer says. “We have tight security. We highly encourage our clients to come to India, to do studio tours, to physically see our IT infrastructure, to know what our disaster recovery plans are.”
Referencing dodgy e-mails she has received from individuals overseas who offer editing, production or translating services, Schaefer says she has wondered, “Who in the world would send them files?”
“Cheap is tempting,” she admits. “But do you know how long they keep the files, if they destroy the files later, how long do they back them up? It’s a big risk.”