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From Smart Company
Put the soaring Aussie dollar to good use – five top outsourcing ideas
By Patrick Stafford
With the dollar now reaching $US1.06c, manufacturing businesses are continuing to fret over how much longer they can survive.
The sudden spike in the dollar after several weeks of subdued performance has put several businesses, already stretched thin, on high alert.
Even GUD managing director Ian Campbell, whose business is performing well despite the circumstances, this morning warned SMEs that labour costs are putting even more pressures on businesses.
“If you are manufacturing globally traded product in this country and your direct and indirect labour costs get to 10% of your manufactured cost, you will go broke.”
As Australian companies are finding ways to hedge against the dollar, they are spending more time looking how to outsource some of their tasks – even GUD imports most of its product now.
With the dollar not going down any time soon, here are five ways you can save more money for your business by outsourcing:
Data hosting is perhaps the most common form of outsourcing these days. Plenty of SMEs are now taking all of their data needs and putting it elsewhere, often overseas, with the ability to continually access that data as often as they want.
It’s always getting cheaper, and the risk of entrusting your data to a reputable provider is low. If you can get your head around the legal requirements, then moving data offshore can save you a pile of cash.
Admittedly this isn’t the easiest thing in the world to set up, but having certain products manufactured offshore can be incredibly helpful. And with the dollar gaining even more ground there’s never been a better time.
China is a good place to start, but there are plenty of manufacturers throughout south-east Asia that you may be able to deal with. It’s worked for companies like Kogan and other SMEs – there’s no reason it can’t for others.
As GUD head Ian Campbell said this morning, the business imports most of its product from China, having spent a considerable amount of time and money into finding the best deals.
Probably one of the most common forms of outsourcing, placing customer service departments overseas can be a big help. This can include all forms of service, including phone support along with online chat.
An entire industry has been built out of making customer support cheaper by offshoring, with businesses for hire in India, Britain and the United States. However, plenty of SMEs have run into trouble by failing to properly train their staff, so dedication is a must.
The internet has led to a number of printing and textiles companies opening their business to companies located in other countries. Although there are a variety of printing businesses available in Australia, looking at some international alternatives can save you a lot of money if the shipping times are good.
Australians have been at the forefront of the crowdsourcing trend, and the variety of businesses that offer crowdsourced design options is a testament to its success. SMEs have been able to save themselves thousands by using these sites, tapping into a talented database of designers to create logos, promotions and other marketing materials.
If you’re strapped for cash and need some design done, sites such as 99Designs and DesignCrowd are a great place to get started.