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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Offshoring vs. Homesourcing, or 2 great tastes in 1?

There is a nice thread on the Alibaba BBS about homesourcing in China. The post highlights that all that theoretical gain of 24 hour work day is eaten up by different holiday/vacation schedules and by the time difference. So with office schedules, every day is "effectively a three day weekend in both countries." This may be true in some industries, but in high tech the sentiment is "work a full day here (in the US), then work a full day at home in the evening (when China wakes up)."

The solution: flextime and work at home. Well, Jet Blue and the Utah based, heavily LDS (Mormon) homesourced agent has been widely chronicled, and according to IDC (via USA Today) the number of home-based agents will triple during the next few years.

The post is focused on freelance providers of trading services. Costs can be:
- 3% of total invoice value, or $250 fixed sourcing only fee
- $10/hr, for a skilled person with factory relationships
- $150/wk, for a junior clerk

In another post (what would you expect to pay a sourcing individual from China), the claim is that you can build your own sourcing operation for about $500-600/week by hiring 3 key people:
- Translator - a challenging job because China is so diverse and not culturally/linguistically unified
- Technical - an "expert clerk from one of the bigger shipping agents...7 years...experience in all sorts of different documents / regulations"
- Entrepreneur/Boss - person in their late 50s/60s with great ethics, stature, and connections. Maybe a senior State Owned Enterprise official who is semi-retired.

So this gets into an interesting question. How do you find these people? Maybe a specialized labor marketplace like RentaCoder or Odesk would be useful.

1 comment:

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