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10-4, Mahatma ...

May 2, 2008
“We are not asking trucking companies to do anything differently than they are doing it now - we‘re just offering them an opportunity to do their work at a lower cost ... using offshore resources.” --Anthony Aliengena, CEO of Aliengena Inc., parent ...

We are not asking trucking companies to do anything differently than they are doing it now - we‘re just offering them an opportunity to do their work at a lower cost ... using offshore resources.” --Anthony Aliengena, CEO of Aliengena Inc., parent company of Aliengena Outsourcing Pvt. Ltd.

OK - even this is catching me off-guard. I mean, outsourcing routine back office functions to workers overseas is one thing (and I think it‘s a bad idea to start with), but then move DISPATCH overseas? TO INDIA????

I mean, PLEASE! We all seem to be forgetting that trucking is a PEOPLE business here. Sure, it‘s all about getting freight from point A to Point B as fast and as cheap as possible. But there are human beings behind the wheel, mapping out the route, making sure the equipment is safe, and making sure if there‘s a problem they can take care of it - fast. Do you REALLY think a dispatcher based in INDIA is going to manage drivers rolling in the southwestern U.S. BETTER? Sure, it‘ll be done CHEAPER, but does that improve the service?

Look, all regards to Anthony Aliengena, CEO of Aliengena Inc. of Pune, India: he‘s trying to solve cost issues for trucking companies here in the U.S., suffering under the weight of $4.21 per gallon diesel. He believes that in tough times, companies can outsource their non-core jobs for significant savings without losing their focus or their industry-specific skilled work force.

But is this really a good idea in the long run? To have all your back-office functions - the folks writing the checks and dispatching trucks - based halfway around the globe? What if servers and phone lines go down? What if DOT inspectors show up asking for records? Are you going to book them on Air India and say “good luck”???

Of course, it‘s all about the money. Aliengena Outsourcing admits right up front that the big savings come from salaries, taxes, insurance, vacation time, overhead and infrastructure costs can add up quickly. For an employee earning $15 per hour in the U.S., the benefits and other items can easily tack on another $6.50 or more per hour, the company noted in its press release. That means an employee earning a base salary of $31,200 a year might actually cost the company approximately $45,000, the company noted.

The same job in India could cost half that amount. By shifting just 10 jobs offshore, a company could save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, Anthony Aliengena said. “Savings like that can mean the difference between riding out this economic storm and not making it,” he added. By moving much of their routine work overseas - jobs like auditing, credit, collections and even billing and posting checks - companies realize significant savings, Aliengena noted.

Look, I am not knocking India here - let‘s be clear. That nation is investing in technical infrastructure - dedicated Internet lines, servers, etc. - like crazy and they have a HUGE well-trained English-speaking workforce. We should be hanging our heads in the U.S. when we see things like this because OUR workforce for decades has never even been close to the multi-lingual capabilities of our countries. (That includes me: I practically flunked Spanish in high school.)

And Aliengena isn‘t just theorizing here - he actually pilot-tested his overseas staffing idea with two truck companies in Utah, not far from his American HQ in Heber City, UT.

“Our pilot companies found that by moving non-mission-critical jobs to a lower-cost market, they were able to focus on their core business. More importantly, they were able to make more money while maintaining customer service levels with their current home office management staff,” he said. Now they are intent on expanding this effort to other jobs, such as dispatching.

“Overseas staffing gives companies the flexibility to add or remove people quickly and easily as their needs fluctuate, allowing them to better weather the industry‘s ups and downs. In our pilot testing, the average savings per worker has been between 33% and 50%,” he noted.

Look, we live in a global economy now, so we‘re competing with everyone for jobs and business. But it just seems to me it would be a strategic liability to have the guts of a trucking business thousands of miles away on another side of the world. That‘s my take at least.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr 1 | Senior Editor

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