The current political landscape has pushed reshoring and trade agreements higher up on the list of topics that electronics manufacturers are discussing. Now, a variety of organizations are looking for ways to bring business back to the United States that is profitable for those involved.
Non-profit Reshoring Initiative and global management consulting firm, Intellilink, are seeking a company to participate in a joint research project to confirm whether back office processes (BOPs) can be reshored competitively using local U.S.-based staff and robotic process automation (RPA) software. If successful, the participating company will achieve higher productivity and an ongoing 50% cost savings vs. offshore outsourcing, according to the Reshoring Initiative. What’s more, the U.S. will have the potential to bring back up to one million BOP jobs even at the higher productivity levels.
As for participant qualifications, the third company to collaborate on the project can be from any industry, but must be spending at least $150,000 a year on offshored BOPs either directly or through an outside firm. Suitable process areas include activities within finance and accounting, human resources, or information technology.
“We work on two fronts,” said founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, Harry Moser. “Despite the United States’ current lack of competitiveness, bring back the 25% of offshored work that can be brought back profitably, and convince the country to implement policy changes that will allow us to balance our goods trade deficit, bringing back the other 75% of work.”
The BOP research project aims to confirm that one software robot and one local client employee are capable of undertaking the work of five offshore resources. For the participating company, Intellilink will offer consulting resources at a discounted cost of 25% of its consulting bill rate and provide a free trial software robot to use during the research project. In exchange, the participating company is expected to document its results and economics under the project.
Intellilink is confident the participating company will generate large cost savings from deploying RPA software while also delivering higher quality service through the use of local U.S.-based employees for BOP.
Many U.S. organizations have offshored back office operations to reduce cost, according to Intellilink. Typically, complex cognitive tasks are retained in house while routine repetitive tasks that follow standard operating procedures are sent overseas. While offshoring has enabled many organizations to reduce cost, this has often come at the expense of lower quality, reduced customer service, and a general loss of control over operations.
Thanks to RPA software, there’s an alternate solution. It enables organizations to automate routine tasks using software robots that do the work exactly as a human would. The robots are programmed to follow the exact same steps and procedures to get the job done. Impressively, the robots are cheaper, faster, and get more work done than an offshore team, presenting organizations with an opportunity to bring work back onshore by using locally deployed robots and staff. The result is a low-cost high-quality solution that returns control of operations back to the organization.
Of course, the U.S. political climate is putting much attention on reshoring, as well as changes in trade agreements. According to Moser, reshoring is getting a lot of attention because it’s succeeding (on target for about 240,000 job announcements in 2017) and is the most obvious key to balancing our trade and budget deficits, increasing economic growth, dramatically reducing income inequality, cutting global pollution, and maintaining an industrial base sufficient to support our defense. The Reshoring Initiative also includes foreign direct investment (FDI) with reshoring.
“Trade agreements are getting attention because they are one of the causes of the trade deficit,” said Moser. “The U.S. has been the world’s sugar daddy for 60 years, sacrificing its economy to help other countries grow, democratize, resist communism, and improve health. We can no longer afford to be so generous.” Trade agreements are a part, according to Moser, but likely aren’t the biggest part of the solution.”
Pleased with the success of reshoring by manufacturing companies, the Reshoring Initiative wants to help the United States achieve similar success reshoring office jobs. For the first time in decades, more manufacturing jobs are returning to the United States than are going offshore. This collaboration will certainly be adding momentum to BOP reshoring in anticipation of achieving great success.