Chicago’s Guide to Selecting the Right Outsourcing Model

Elevate productivity and revenue by partnering with a BPO provider. Should Chicago businesses opt for local or explore other options? Find out about outsourcing models and effective management strategies.
Outsourcing model Chicago guide - featured image

Table of Contents

Collaborating with a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider can raise business productivity, performance, revenue, and longevity. 

However, should local businesses opt for a Chicago BPO company or explore the many location-based outsourcing options available? Understanding the different types of outsourcing is the first step to making an informed selection. 

This article discusses the outsourcing models that Chicago companies can use to guide their quest for competitiveness, excellence, and growth. It also explains strategies for picking a suitable model and offers tips for effective outsourcing management. 

Keep reading to learn more. 

Why Chicago Businesses Require Outsourcing 

Chicago hosts at least 30 Fortune 500 corporations as the Midwest’s dynamic epicenter. The constant interplay of technology, transportation, financial services, and manufacturing propels its economic expansion.

This continued urbanization means Chicago’s cost of living is 20% higher than the national average, driving up salary expenses and making local recruitment difficult. As such, business owners and entrepreneurs seek ways to reduce operating and salary costs. 

This is where BPO comes into play. Increased local demand draws a diversified mix of third-party vendors that provide expert commercial solutions. The city’s developing economy and varied job opportunities make it a vital outsourcing market.

These elements drive an increasing number of companies in the Windy City to engage in outsourcing to stay competitive. The question is: What type of outsourcing model must Chicago businesses use to guide and achieve their goals? Find out in the next section. 

Outsourcing Models for Chicago Firms: A Guide for Growth

Let us explore the different outsourcing models Chicago businesses can adopt to guide their strategic growth and operational excellence.

Offshore Outsourcing

Offshoring is one of the outsourcing models that Chicago-based companies can select to guide and assist their front-end and back-end operations. It enables the business to transfer its functions to a business processing outsourcing provider on another continent.

An example is a Chicago-based online retailer (North America) that outsources its call center operations to a BPO provider in the Philippines (Southeast Asia).

Uncover the gains this outsourcing model can deliver to Chicago enterprises to guide them toward operational proficiency: 

  • Enhanced consumer satisfaction and experience. Why consider outsourcing call center services to the Philippines? The country is recognized as the leading global call center hub, hosting many BPO companies capable of providing exceptional customer satisfaction.
  • Affordable outsourcing activities. Offshore firms provide voice-based services such as customer support, help desk, and contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions at cost-effective prices compared to other models. The affordable charges stem from the comparatively modest salaries of their staff.
  • Elevated user experience. India and Ukraine continue to lead as the primary global information outsourcing centers, offering millions of proficient English-speaking information technology (IT) support professionals. These nations’ excellent tech support allows clients to focus on core business.
  • 24/7 operations. Leveraging time zone differences enables Chicago businesses to operate seamlessly. Round-the-clock operability raises productivity, ensuring a swift and responsive approach to meet the dynamic market demands.

Check out one potential issue with offshoring:

  • Covert costs. Certain service providers might seek a revenue percentage, translating to a more significant loss as sales increase. Additional hidden costs encompass charges for unforeseen events and work disruptions. The offshore BPO provider might also impose significant cancellation or pre-termination fees.

Nearshore Outsourcing

Nearshoring is another outsourcing model that Chicago enterprises can use to guide and aid their business functions. This type allows the company to assign operations to a BPO provider in a country near its principal office.

An example of nearshore outsourcing is a logistics firm in Chicago (U.S.) that works with a BPO firm in a Latin American (LatAm) country to manage its distribution services. 

Here are the benefits this outsourcing model can offer Chicago companies to guide them toward effectiveness: 

  • Moderate resignation rate. Mexico and other LatAm countries have a lower worker turnover rate than their BPO counterparts. The region has less than 15% yearly attrition, while other outsourcing sites have at least 30%.
  • Positive trading relations with the U.S. LatAm areas have stronger commercial links with the U.S. The American government and private companies are more likely to do business with this location, offering more rewards to nearshore vendors.
  • Bilingual customer assistance. Nearshore customer service representatives and other professionals in LatAm are proficient in English and Spanish. They can switch languages to give customers a first-rate experience, increasing sales and income.
  • Cultural affinity. LatAm nations and the U.S. share cultural traits. This substantial affinity enhances understanding, reducing the potential for errors and promoting smoother collaboration.

Discover the possible challenge of nearshoring:

  • Rising cyber threats. Hackers have set their sights on the LatAm area. According to Mexico News Daily, Mexico ranked first among nations for serious cyberattacks in 2022. It had the highest ransomware occurrence, with over 18,000 detections. Colombia trailed distantly with 17,000, followed by Costa Rica with 14,000.

Onshore Outsourcing

Onshoring (or domestic outsourcing) is among the outsourcing models that Chicago establishments can adopt to guide and support their organizational tasks. This approach allows enterprises to entrust functions to third-party vendors in the same country as their offices. 

An example of onshore outsourcing is a Chicago healthcare provider (Illinois) that collaborates with a BPO organization in Phoenix (Arizona) to supervise its back-office activities. 

Below are the advantages this outsourcing model can provide to Chicago businesses to guide them toward excellence: 

  • Similar time zone. This BPO model ensures that outsourcing procedures are implemented during local workplace hours to align with internal operations. This capability is essential if the Chicago client has stringent project management standards or follows the continuous improvement process (CIP) methodology.
  • Proximate location. Of all the outsourcing models that Chicago companies can utilize to guide their functions, onshoring guarantees proximity between the two parties. For instance, if a problem occurs in the IT system, the BPO provider can quickly dispatch tech professionals to the Chicago client’s office to fix it.

Consider some drawbacks of onshoring:

  • Expensive running costs. When outsourcing to a service provider in the U.S., the salaries of the third-party team are comparable to those of the internal staff. This BPO model is ideal for Chicago businesses that want better control over delegated processes than the economic workforce they gain from offshoring or nearshoring hubs. 
  • Restricted talent supply. One of the most significant challenges with onshoring is the need for more trained personnel. The U.S. has experienced workforce shortages owing to the Great Resignation. Salaries tend to rise when a scarcity of skilled workers persists.

Multisource Outsourcing

Multisourcing is an outsourcing model that Chicago businesses can utilize to guide their procedures. This structure blends the services of offshore, nearshore, and onshore providers. The Chicago organization engages one or more service providers when the existing BPO partner cannot fulfill expanding business expectations.

For example, a software development company in Chicago engages with a user interface (UI) design specialist in San Francisco, a tech support provider in the Philippines, and a cybersecurity expert in Mexico. 

Examine the perks this outsourcing model can present to Chicago organizations to guide them toward operational mastery: 

  • Reduced risks. This method distributes potential risks while increasing service quality. It can also foster productive rivalry among outsourcing providers, lowering long-term service rates.
  • Flexible staffing. Multisourcing allows the organization to meet its human resource (HR) demands without hiring and training new employees, saving costs. This method is helpful if the organization needs temporary workers for recurrent or periodic procedures.
  • Upgraded technology and facilities. Multisourcing blends outsourcing and cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and omnichannel communications. It improves the overall performance of the organization’s IT infrastructure by acquiring the most qualified BPO organizations.

Below are the probable downsides of multisourcing: 

  • Complicated knowledge exchange. Coordination between the Chicago firm and its third-party vendors depends on efficient information sharing. The more providers it has, the more critical communication is in avoiding misunderstandings. Collaboration must be sustained and evaluated to get the most significant outcomes.
  • Higher operating costs. As the Chicago company engages more service providers, it might discover that its team needs help managing all the connections or services offered. As a consequence, the multisourcing process might increase overhead costs.

Picking the Right Outsourcing Model for Chicago Firms: A Quick Guide

The right outsourcing model for a Chicago organization is the one that guides them toward strategic growth and operational excellence. Explore the following tips to find the model most suited for the company:

1. Assess Business Needs and Goals 

Before outsourcing, Chicago firms must carefully evaluate their needs and future objectives. This step requires identifying specific areas or operations eligible for outsourcing, understanding the desired outcomes, and aligning these objectives with the corporate strategy. 

For example, a Chicago-based technology company may choose software development as a critical activity to outsource, increasing operational efficiency and securing a competitive advantage in the evolving tech sector. 

This strategic approach guarantees that outsourcing activities are targeted to the company’s current requirements while contributing to its long-term success and resilience. It lays the groundwork for further expansion and flexibility.

2. Conduct a Risk Analysis 

Outsourcing entails inherent risks, from potential communication challenges to unforeseen disruptions. Businesses must conduct a thorough analysis to identify and mitigate these potential pitfalls. They must evaluate prospective BPO partners’ stability, review geopolitical and economic issues, and craft contingency plans for different scenarios. 

In a dynamic business landscape like Chicago, a meticulous risk analysis ensures that outsourcing initiatives become catalysts for growth rather than impediments.

3. Develop a Request for Proposal (RFP)

Businesses must clearly understand their needs and potential risks to generate a detailed RFP. This document is a roadmap for potential BPO partners, articulating specific requirements and evaluation criteria. 

A carefully crafted RFP plays a vital role in Chicago’s diverse business landscape. It attracts suitable partners, promotes transparency and efficiency throughout the selection process, and ensures a strategic and successful outsourcing venture.

4. Evaluate Vendor Proposals

Upon receiving responses to the RFP, businesses must meticulously assess vendor proposals. This process involves comparing costs (e.g., service fees and BPO billings) and scrutinizing potential outsourcing partners’ expertise, track record, and cultural fit. 

For instance, a Chicago bank outsourcing customer support must prioritize vendors with a proven track record in the finance industry and a commitment to customer-centric values.

5. Make the Final Decision 

The final step involves judiciously weighing all gathered information, considering advantages and disadvantages, and aligning the strengths of potential partners with identified needs and goals. 

This decision-making necessitates understanding industry-specific requirements and how outsourcing can propel the business to success.

Best Practices: Tips for Effective Outsourcing Management

Selecting an appropriate outsourcing model is the beginning for Chicago businesses. They must also use efficient management techniques to guide the partnership’s success. Consider the following tips: 

  • Establish effective communication. Ensure successful outsourcing by establishing clear and regular communication to stay aligned and promptly address any issues.
  • Define key performance indicators (KPIs). Identify KPIs aligning with business goals. Track and assess these metrics constantly to measure outsourcing success and identify areas for improvement.
  • Evaluate performance continuously. Regularly assess the outsourcing partner, considering their adherence to deadlines, service quality, and overall contribution to the business objectives.
  • Promote collaboration. Encourage open communication, shared insights, and mutual ownership between the internal team and the outsourcing partner to better achieve common goals.
  • Offer training and resources. Ensure the outsourcing partner has the necessary learning, materials, and facilities to comprehend the business processes, aligning their work with the company’s standards.
  • Maintain data security. Implement robust measures to safeguard sensitive information. Outline data protection protocols in the outsourcing agreement, and regularly review and update security measures.
  • Encourage innovation. Outsourcing partners typically bring fresh perspectives and ideas. Nurture a collaborative atmosphere that embraces creative solutions and contributes to ongoing improvement.
  • Review and update agreements regularly. Periodically reassess and modify contracts to align with your business’s evolving needs and goals. This flexibility permits adjustments and enhancements over time.
  • Conduct periodic risk assessments. Regularly evaluate potential risks and challenges in the outsourcing relationship. This proactive approach identifies and mitigates risks before escalation, ensuring a smoother, more resilient partnership.

The Bottom Line

Choosing an outsourcing model involves weighing the benefits and costs of offshore, nearshore, onshore, and multisourcing options. Offshore outsourcing enhances consumer satisfaction, nearshore outsourcing boasts a moderate churn rate, and onshore outsourcing ensures similar time zones. Multisourcing mitigates risks but requires careful knowledge exchange.

A structured outsourcing approach is essential to unlocking growth and resilience in the evolving business ecosystem.

Let’s connect to learn more about choosing suitable outsourcing models for Chicago businesses to support and guide them toward success! 

Rene Mallari
Rene Mallari considers himself a multipurpose writer who easily switches from one writing style to another. He specializes in content writing, news writing, and copywriting. Before joining Unity Communications, he contributed articles to online and print publications covering business, technology, personalities, pop culture, and general interests. He has a business degree in applied economics and had a brief stint in customer service. As a call center representative (CSR), he enjoyed chatting with callers about sports, music, and movies while helping them with their billing concerns. Rene follows Jesus Christ and strives daily to live for God.
Rene Mallari

Rene Mallari

We Build Your Next-Gen Team for a Fraction of the Cost. Get in Touch to Learn How.

You May Also Like

Meet With Our Experts Today!