How to Make Sure Outsourcing Companies Following Directions
Following directions is a problem in any company. But, if you work with offshore labor, or outsourcing companies, they always blame the customer if they didn’t follow directions. Remember — the customer is always wrong. Most companies just don’t value the work you are giving them in my experience which is where the problem starts.
But, the resolution to the problem is easy. Here are a few steps to ensure that your offshore company follows instructions well.
(1) Give them a test run before you give them any real work.
If a company is too sloppy to give a chance on something that might be time sensitive or critical, test a few companies out on your dime on a test project. I recommend TWO test projects. Companies tend to be “trying” more on the initial test project, and will slack off a lot more on the second one.
(2) Let the offshore company believe that the 2nd test project is real
Outsourcing companies will let you down a lot of the time if you are a small client. They just don’t care much about the little fish which doesn’t make good business sense. Little fishes are easier to catch, easier to keep, and lots of little fish add up to a big fish. Companies will be more careful in your assignment if they feel it is a test. If the second test project is a real project, then they go back to their regular habits of taking forever and making lots of mistakes in many cases. A second test is like a second interview. People are being “themselves” the second time around — and you need to know what the real “themselves” is before giving them anything critical!
(3) You need to keep clear instructions in writing, and then go over the instructions verbally after the fact. If you flood someone with emails, you will create a mess. So, only send needed emails and keep the information in them well organized. Anything that was assigned orally can be disregarded and YOU will be blamed. People can forget what you told them, or just blatantly disregard what you said. Or, if someone gets upset with you, then they might decide to not follow instructions.
(4) Have your offshore company check in with you periodically
It is impotant to have work get done in steps. You need to inspect each step. The first step should be the smallest. That way if your offshore company is on the wrong track, you can get them straightened out. But don’t assume that because you corrected the company, that they will follow directions from then on. Assume that they will continue making mistakes as they usually do. In real life they might make some of the same types of errors they made before and perhaps a few new ones too!
(5) Deadlines should be in writing
Give lots of smaller deadlines in writing that are reasonable. Use these to double check all of the work. The secret to having people follow directions is to screen out those that are beyond help, and to keep coaching the good ones! Deadlines assist in the checking process. They also provide a definitive line where you can fire someone. You could even have multiple deadlines for the same stage in the process. The first deadline gets you a bonus, the second keeps you going, and the third gets you fired for sure — no excuses! You can engineer so many business strategies with creative deadlines. Don’t overlook this opportunity.
Keep an eye on everyone, communicate all pertinent points in writing every time, and good luck!
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