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Friday, July 04, 2008
The outsourcing of the Orange County Register – the Outsourcing of Public Safety
Sherff Hutchens capabilities match the needs of the technologically complex OCSD or is it a forced fit? .
July 4, 2008
It is reported that an Indian company in New Delhi will take over copy editing duties for some stories published in The Orange County Register and will handle page layout for a community newspaper. “Orange County Register Communications Inc. will begin a one-month trial with Mindworks Global Media at the end of June”, said John Fabris, a deputy editor at the Register.
There is a cost-benefit associated with outsourcing. Then there are the various risk factors. The top five according to Iacovou and Nakatsu are:
1. Lack of top management involvement
2. Requirement miscommunication
3. Language barriers - as in what’s up dude?
4. Inadequate user involvement
5. Lack of know-how
We have never found a high-level manager who did not think his or her respective off-shore initiative was not going to be an unqualified success – mostly because of the ego involved.
In this industry (OCR’s and LA Times’ for example), however, we posit that it is not the labor cost associated with the product, as much as the right product for the right time.
To minimize the impact of some of the aforementioned risks, there is a “near-shoring” movement that organizations may want to look into. In the case of the OCR, they can perhaps outsource their work to other organizations with a much lower cost structure, such as the CZ-subsidized CotoCan, for example.
But seriously, just some four years ago, a CotoBuzz Journal reader argued that the US auto industry was in great shape, pointing to the advances made by Harley Davison and the problems plaguing Mitsubishi. For our part, we stated that for more than 30 years we have argued that that the auto-industry’s labor structure would continue to force jobs out of the country. Guess who was right?
In this context, we asked asked Sherff Hutchens during a recent interview whether her capabilities matched the needs of a department as technologically complex as the OCSD.
The Sheriff was visibly upset when we mentioned that although she had broken a tough glass ceiling, the technology one was even harder. “I do not see what one has to do with the other” she said. Unfortunately, at that moment, she was called for another meeting and we were not able to continue the conversation.
Various reports indicate that India and China are graduating more scientists and engineers than the US - The Economist reports that India graduated 690,000 scientists and engineers of all types while China produced 520,000 and the United States 420,000, for example, and In India, says a Newsweek article, you can get "quality work at 50% to 60% of the cost, and that it is well known fact that the number of young women gravitating to information technology has been declining for some time, and that industries such as the auto industry have been forced to outsource a good portion of the work to remain viable, and the newspapers such as the Orange County Register are being forced to do the same, what is it the Sheriff Hutchens know that we do not know, to make sure the public safety is not forced to outsource to remain competitive, or will she use the same old tired argument that goes something like this: The OCSD is most efficient, and thus additional safety requires an additional budget”
Is public safety the next candidate for outsourcing?
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The first and most important priority is to restore honor to the office that was taken by its last office holder- Kevin Keyes
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