But if you are clear about where you want to go and what you want to offshore, selecting a supplier should be as easy as eating pie. Use the following tips as a guideline to review the right offshore supplier.
Tip#1 - Ask for References
A little research will go a long way in finding a qualified and appropriate supplier. This is the first thing you would want to do. Find out how long the supplier has been in business? Whether they have worked on a project similar to yours in the past? How many offices do they deliver and operate from? Search them on Google and other Social Media platforms to understand their brand image. Find out their history and business experience.
Importantly, ask for references, know their staff retention rates, learn about their work culture, get to know how many contracts they are able to renew at the end of their contract periods, and ask if they have UK-based support staff.
As far as references go, check how long their clients have been with them and if they have referred them in the past. Contact their current clients and find out their levels of satisfaction. Conversation with them might uncover business practices, and how they deal with conflicts or problems. It will also be helpful if you ask for the providers' strengths and weaknesses.
Tip#2 - Financial Viability
The knowledge about the supplier’s financial stability should be of prime importance before finalizing a supplier you plan to work with. Assessment might involve a review of the supplier’s audited financial statements, annual reports, business growth plan and other information that supports financial analysis. Some research on and threatened or pending financial or legal claims on the supplier is a good area to explore.
Tip#3 - Quality Measures
I perfectly understand that Quality compliances are only a good general measure and the best offshore suppliers should have Quality built into their genetic codes. However, it doesn’t hurt to find offshore suppliers that follow globally-accepted standard models like ISO. Find suppliers that are certified by the latest, revised ISO standards as these adopt a process oriented approach and emphasize on measuring process performance and effectiveness. Other than helping measure and improve quality standards, it also ensures that the supplier follows defined processes and abides by quality parameters set by the regulating body.
In terms of quality, ensure that your offshore supplier delivers similar or better output than your own internal resources. Don’t settle for anything less.
Tip#4 - Language & Cultural Congruity
Many an offshoring deal has been marred by poor communication. There is research based evidence which says that 38% of outsourcing deals fail because of a lack of cultural congruity between the supplier and client.
We suggest you spend at least a fortnight with your offshore supplier to get a first-hand experience of their work ethos and culture. Get involved with them; attend the staff meetings; interact with your extended team. This is the best way to experience their work culture.
Tip#5 - IT Infrastructure and Technical Capacity
ISO 27001:2005 is a legit proof for an offshore supplier’s IT capabilities. However, the next best bet would be a visit to the offshore supplier’s workplace and finding out if they use the best IT Infrastructure. A personal visit helps understand if they have the proper technology to handle your project. Moreover, you will be able to analyze and understand their processes, methodologies and workforce employed to run your payroll process.
Tip#6 - Reporting Tools
Look for a supplier with a proven track record; suppliers that provide reports on a daily, weekly or bi-weekly basis. Along with helping you monitor the performances of people that work on your process, you will get time to take action as the work happens. The only thing that should change when you offshore is the location the work is being processed at.
Tip #7 - Awards, Affiliations & Industry Recognitions
Awards and industry recognition is a good general measure to learn about the reputation and quality of your offshore supplier. Research says that companies just like employees perform better if they are recognized for their accomplishments. Also, recognition speaks a lot about the quality of a supplier and the strength of its management team.
Tip#8 - UK-registered Supplier
Last but no less important than the first, before choosing your supplier, take some time to learn about the owners of the company and the country laws they operate under. It is important that you choose a UK-registered supplier as it makes things easy and you don’t end up chasing people in a foreign land, if needs be.
The Inevitable Footnote
So now that you have established what to look for in an offshore supplier, it must have become a lot easy to link your requirements. Right? Well, honestly, at first glance most offshore suppliers might seem to serve the purpose. Nevertheless, before you hit the road don’t forget to perform a due diligence on their financial stability, track record, data security measures, reporting tools, industry recognitions, the country laws to which they comply, and most importantly their quality of service.
With careful planning and evaluation you should find the most capable supplier and enjoy the benefits of offshore outsouring.