In a an office in central Bangalore, dozens of employees are arriving to work on the night shift. They are journalists employed by the world’s biggest news agency, Reuters.
Their job is to cover US financial news.
And they are working overnight so that they can report company news live as it happens on the New York Stock Exchange – from India.
I chose to blog about this today is because I am part of this supply chain model. I believe there is the costing aspect of this model that can be better understood. It is my belief that is an opportunity to provide more formal structured guidance in this area through a university research framework.
There are many benefits associated to this global connected supply model: job opportunities for a ever growing number aspiring and English educated Indian graduates, the ability for companies to get more done with better management of limited resources, global transfer of knowledge and skills and the near ability to work 24/7 x 365. I think this model is promising but it is dependent on well resourced partners in terms of expertise and knowledge from both ends of the chain and sharing common work culture.
Through my personal experience so far, there are too many variations in this loose chained process thru the production briefing process >> production >> quality assurance >> customer evaluation. To maintain quality, variations in a supply chain model have to cap to minimal (see Six Sigma, wiki).
Currently, my agency producer and I spent a lot of time together to create a production brief together. My agency producer then briefed the job and passed on the creative elements to our counterparts in offshore web publishing team. This job is then queued and staff resource allocated.
The web publishing team lead would contact me to preview the “completed” work. Majority of the times, there are often defects/ variations from the brief even when there are explicit instructions and examples provided.
There is a considerable time difference between Sydney (+11 h GMT) and India (+5.30 GMT), almost 1 business day, which impacts the effective common working hours. The common working hours are crucial to facilities quick correspondence and evaluation and prompt feedback. This situation can be kept to a minimal if an accurate, concise and complete production brief was written, properly communicated and adhered too.
But often the reality is that my agency producer and I would then have to spend a lot (way too much, sometimes half a day) of time to do screen captures, careful wording of our responses, phone calls referring to our brief, and educating our counterparts in India why we have to do things in a particular manner. For example, having a RSS icon on a page is not adequate if we do not link it to a feed URL. This is so tactical, it shouldn’t even occur but its one of many oversights that keeps occurring.
There is just too much handholding involved between my agency producer and myself with the web publishing team. This sort of to and fro communication can suck up many agencies (AU-IN) billable hours and also hinders my ability to engage more hours on the field – talking to customers ( faculty members, students) and become more agile to exploit opportunities and tackle the competition. This type of cost to the business competitive is often hard to capture in the off shoring evaluation but it is a real cost that needs to be communicated, understood and evaluated.
I proposed careful re-examination how this information supply chain model interaction can be re-engineered moving towards interface (wiki) approach and work more efficiently. The ideals behind this approach are to ensure that
a) the client and agency prepare a brief that is completely understand by the service provider (ie web publishers in this case),
b) the service provider receives necessary resources/ creative elements before the start of the job, and
c) the end product is evaluated and checked against the prototype/ mock up. Between these lines, there must also be a SLA and communication chain especially for big projects involved several parties.
This global information supply chain process is here to stay, therefore it’s imperative every business understands the benefits and true cost of engaging an offshore team. It’s not just engaging services from a 3rd party but a work flow re-enginnering effort which has to be communicated to all stakeholders in the business.
Globalisation shakes the world (BBC News)
PS: I decided to write this entry in a spur of a moment, please forgive me if you found it not up to academic discussion which it is not intended to be. Maybe more like a Saturday arvo latte topic. Hope you have a good weekend!