Outsourcing Doesn’t Always Go Overseas

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Not all outsourced ad production work leaves the country. Some companies stick stateside, and have been doing so for more than 10 years. “The industry has viewed outsourcing and offshoring as synonymous,” says Bill Blackwood, VP/newspaper services for print and prepress company American Color. “We don’t think it’s that finite.”

His company has been working with the Houston Chronicle for more than a decade, first handling the metro’s prepress production and then moving on to ad production in 2000. The relationship is symbiotic: Many of the Chronicle’s former graphic artists now work for American Color, which cuts the payroll checks and manages the work.

Blackwood says the company takes a “hybrid” approach, with operations in such cities as Phoenix, Chicago, and New York while also maintaining multiple relationships with offshore companies. The Columbus Dispatch outsources most of its ads to Affinity Express, but American Color handles branding and creative work for the Dispatch’s advertisers.

Executives with the Chronicle say that the relationship with American Color is in transition, as their contract is being renegotiated. The paper, like several of its peers across the country, has to dramatically reduce costs further.

Jan McDonald, founder of U.S.-based outsourcing firm American Outsourcing Solutions, claims a newspaper can save as much (roughly 40% of costs) by going with his company as they would by resorting to offshoring.

The Dallas, Pa.-based company uses ad production software to expedite the process. American Outsourcing enjoys the support of Pennsylvania, which offers companies incentives to keep jobs in the Keystone state.

American Outsourcing is in beta with several papers including The Huntsville (Ala.) Times. Adds President Jim Kelley, “We speak the same language, and understand the same culture.”

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